The agenda for the aborted April 17, 2020, special meeting of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors contained a seemingly innocuous item:
Approving Collective Bargaining Agreement with Saratoga County Sheriff Officers Association, Inc. (Corrections Unit) for 2019
It turns out that this agreement with the Corrections Officers bargaining unit would have granted each officer $1,500.00 plus a 2% raise for the year retroactive to January 1, 2019.
WAMC reporter Lucas Willard reported the following from an email he received earlier from County Administrator Spencer Hellwig regarding County employee salaries:
“…no county employees are currently receiving time-and-a-half. The change was made in a decision by the COVID oversight group on April 2nd, effective April 3rd.”
Hellwig also wrote:
“items discussed during CBA [JK:collective bargaining agreement] negotiations with Public Safety unions are to be kept confidential.”
My reading of all this is that Hellwig, Preston Allen and their allies attempted to take the heat off themselves by increasingly dialing back on who was receiving the time and a half raises until, after a secret meeting on April 2, they were all eliminated. Reneging on these promised raises , however, lead to union grievances which now had to be addressed. Their hope was that an agreement with the Corrections Officers that had been discussed behind closed doors without the knowledge or participation of many if not most of the Supervisors could slide past with a quick approval at the end of the special meeting. All these salary agreements are being presented without any analysis of what the state of the county’s finances may be as this crisis continues.
I understand the other members of the Deputy Sheriffs Union are still in negotiations.
I expect that the insurgents will insist on answers when the Board of Supervisors holds its regular monthly on Tuesday.