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Amherst Town Board approves contract extension with CSEA

The Amherst Town Board Tuesday unanimously approved a two-year agreement with the town's white collar workers that includes a 2 percent raise in 2017 and a 2.5 percent in 2018.

The agreement is an extension of a contract that was first reached between the town and CSEA Local 815 in 2009 and extended for two years in 2014. The union is the town's largest, representing over 200 white collar employees in town government.

"This one was about to expire three days ago, and I approached them about three months ago to see if they would be interested in approving an extension, and I sweetened the pot by putting in a separation incentive. They weren't ready to enter a longterm negotiation," said Town Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein.

Weinstein said the town has already approved contracts with its highway, police and central fire alarm unions. The contract with the white collar union was the last one scheduled to be negotiated once it expired on Dec. 31.

The Town Board at its reorganization meeting Tuesday also voted to appoint Duncan Black to fill an unexpired term by Planning Board member Michele J. Johnson and to extend the term of Planning Board member Robert J. Gilmour, both of which were approved by 4-1 votes.  Councilwoman Deborah Bruch Bucki voted against both extensions. Bucki's two recommendations to serve on the seven-member Planning Board both failed to receive a second from the other members on the Town Board. Some residents at Tuesday's meeting expressed frustration that the other two Democrats, Ramona D. Popowich and Francina Spoth, who help comprise a majority on the Town Board, supported Gilmour's reappointment.

Debra Norton, a former longtime member of the Planning Board, said residents in the town voted a Democratic majority onto the Town Board so they would be responsive to residents' call to curb development in Erie County's largest town.

Norton said the board "cannot effectuate the changes in land use policy" that residents desired by "reappointing the same old same old."

"Do not reappoint Mr. Gilmour. He is the reason that the residents supported you so that you could change the face of government," said Norton.

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