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Monday, October 20, 2014
Speculator, NY ,
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Compensation is unfair

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - Updated: 11:02 AM

To the editor,

Town of Long Lake employees want to update those who have been following our efforts to meet with the Town Board to discuss wages and benefits.

The board has refused to meet with us, stating it would do so at "budget time." We wanted an earlier meeting to give the board time to discuss, investigate and come to an agreement with the employees before they do the 2015 budget.

Of the employers we investigated (towns of Newcomb, Tupper and Indian Lake, Long Lake Central School, Long Lake Library, Long Lake Fire District and Hamilton County) we are the only entity whose full-time employees have not received a COLA increase for four years.

Our full-time wages, as compared to the other towns and the county, are for the most part lower, some by almost $5 an hour (almost $10,000 a year). On the other hand, our part-time, seasonal and temporary employees' hourly rate is for the most part better.

Of the towns we looked into, all have a bargaining unit. We do not.

Regarding health insurance benefits, we have average coverage and cost. Some pay 100 percent of their employees' health insurance while others require employees to contribute a percentage of the premium. This is done by a cafeteria plan so the contribution is pre-tax; some are paying less than us in terms of actual out-of-pocket.

Of those we looked into, Long Lake is the only town that offers a generous health insurance benefit to its town board members, at 100 percent cost to the taxpayers, $14,000. The only other town that even offers health care coverage to board members is Newcomb, and that is at a 50 percent cost to the member.

The library, fire district and school offer no health care benefit / stipend to any of their board members.

We mention this as more than one board member feels that because full-time employees receive health insurance, the increased cost of premiums should be considered their yearly raise. However, the board members receive the same benefit we work full-time to earn while working just a fraction of the time.

A 2012 memo sent all employees stated health care insurance benefits cost the town $13,254 for a family plan in 2011. The cost in 2014 as per Supervisor Clark Seaman is $14,000.

That is a difference of $746 over four years, or about $186 per year. For a full-time employee this is about $0.11 cents an hour per year.

This information is based on Freedom of Information Act documents and interpreted to the best of our knowledge.

We understand times are tough but we have been, and continue to be, denied fair wages or compensation that others, some even within our own tax district, are receiving.

Michelle Hamdan, Pat Gibbs and Joe Tokarz

Long Lake

     

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