Changes to the town of Cicero; employee health benefits raising concerns

Local News

CICERO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Before heading into the new year, the Cicero Town Board checked one more item off its list during a special meeting Monday. The board voted to extend union health benefits to nonunion employees.

Some board members think the vote was unfair and was taken in a rush to get things done before the end of the year.

While the outgoing town supervisor, Mark Venesky, said this will end up benefitting everyone in the long run, some board members think it’ll come at a higher cost.

“I’m not opposed to doing something along these lines for these employees, perhaps separating out management from rank and file, there’s a lot of things that could have been done and should have been done if we were allowed to take the time we were told we’d be able to take,” said Jonathan Karp, Town Councilor of Cicero.

“This keeps people non-union, and it’s really a way to treat all employees across the board in the Town of Cicero fairly,” Venesky said.

For years, a prior town supervisor selectively gave out benefits to certain employees. This vote, Vanesky says, is part of an effort to fix that.

This vote also connects back to negotiations with the Town of Cicero Police Department, which has been going on for years. Right now, they’re operating without a contract, but moving forward, the town hopes to standardize healthcare benefits for all employees in the town, including the police.

“At some point, we’re going to reach critical mass. That some point is probably 7 or 8 years from now where either the police department is going to have to go or the Town of Cicero would be forced to not pay its bills or to engage in some sort of creative financing,” Vanesky said.

Something both the town and the police union say they’re working to prevent right now.

“That would bring that contract in line with the other contracts, stuff people can live with. Our goal is not to hurt people. But to make sure that they are successful so that we are successful,” Venesky said.

Come Jan. 1st, new people will be sitting on the Cicero Town Board, including a new town supervisor, Bill Meyer. We’re told Meyer is the one who requested Monday’s special meeting, calling for a vote on teamsters benefits for the town.

Another special meeting has been called for Thursday, Jan. 2nd, at 7 p.m. at the Cicero Town Hall.

For more local news, follow Julia LeBlanc on Twitter @JulialeblancNC9.

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