Cumberland Times-News

October 6, 2012

County continues union talks with animal control

Allegany officials trying to finalize negotiations with AFSCME

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Allegany County officials are continuing to negotiate with unionized county workers in two departments to wrap up a prolonged series of negotiations since contracts expired June 30.

There are two workers in the animal control bargaining unit and 24 people in the transit workers bargaining unit, county officials said. Workers are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Commission president Michael McKay said Friday that he is optimistic that agreements will soon be reached.

Some county bus drivers were upset by changes in routes and reduced overtime that took place in September.

The poor economy is also playing a role in the process.

“It’s a very tough year to negotiate,” Jim Bestpitch of AFSCME told the Times-News in an earlier interview.

The county negotiating team consists of a number of members of the county’s senior management team. Commissioners decided not to employ an outside negotiator.

Both sides have been limiting public discussion of the contracts because the two set ground rules prohibiting comment about the negotiations to the media.

The county has already implemented a plan that cut 10 county positions and saves $475,000.

The 10 positions, added to 32 positions eliminated last year through attrition and an early retirement option, would mean 42 positions cut in two years. That’s about 18 percent of the work force in two years, county officials said.

While county commissioners are regularly briefed, they don’t take part in the direct negotiations, McKay said earlier.

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