MAYVILLE - County Executive Greg Edwards plans to formally respond to a letter from CSEA today.
At the County Legislature meeting Wednesday evening, Bonnie Peters, a member of CSEA, spoke about a letter she sent to each member of the legislature. The letter is apparently different from the one Edwards received from the union last Wednesday, which he has been studying with the county's legal and Human Resources teams.
"Tonight, for the first time, I understand that a different letter with different language, different terms, was sent to the legislature," Edwards told media following the meeting. "So, I'll be asking legislators to get a copy of that, so I can look at that as well, because that was the first I heard, when a CSEA member read it to the Legislature earlier (Wednesday) evening. I guess the complicating factor is, I haven't seen that letter, other than hearing it being read this evening. It's different than the one I received."
The letter was not formally sent to the Legislature clerk to be entered into the records, however the CSEA member read portions of it aloud. Edwards expressed frustration over receiving the letters now, when communication was initially started in January to discuss issues between the county and CSEA.
"This is a situation where we have negotiated for over a year with CSEA Local 6300 as a complete organization, 934 employees, and have been unable to reach an agreement," Edwards said. "The union walked away from the negotiation, declared impasse. So, there is a formal procedure, a very technical procedure, you have to follow in those sorts of circumstances."
According to Edwards, the union is requesting that the county invest a significant amount of money into the Chautauqua County Home. At that point, CSEA would be willing to discuss proposals it is willing to make about changing the operation of the home.
"It's all premised and preconditioned on my commitment, the Legislature's commitment, to invest fully in the IGT," Edwards said. "This year, that would mean $1.6 million in local property tax, matched by $1.6 million of our state and federal taxes, for a total of $3.2 million of tax subsidy for an organization that right now is losing over $9,000 a day in its operations."
Edwards called the timing of the letters "unfortunate," also stating that the language was unusual and unclear. However, he said that he will have a formal response for CSEA as well as the Legislators today.