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Jun 20, 2016 10:56 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town, CSEA Meet With Arbiter About Contract Settlement

Southampton Town Highway Superintedent Alex Gregor in his office last week.  DANA SHAW
Jun 23, 2016 2:34 PM

Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor has refused to sign a settlement between the town and the Southampton chapter of the Civil Service Employees Association, stemming from a complaint the union filed over whether certain employee titles should be added to the union’s contract.

The town and union officials went before an arbiter on Tuesday morning at the Brooklyn office of the Public Employment Relations Board to begin the process of determining whether the settlement, which was approved by the Town Board in March, can be executed without Mr. Gregor’s signature.

Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he might want to take the matter to court, however, to further clarify whether Mr. Gregor’s signature should be included in collective bargaining agreements in the future, depending on how the hearing went on Tuesday.

The CSEA filed a grievance with the town shortly after Mr. Schneiderman signed the settlement; the terms, which include accelerated pay raises, were not immediately executed. The grievance was an effort to get the town to meet the terms of the settlement immediately. But the supervisor said he denied the request last month after the Town Board decided that the agreement could not be finalized until Mr. Gregor signed it.

After Mr. Schneiderman’s denial, however, the CSEA asked for an arbiter to determine whether the supervisor’s signature was enough to make the settlement valid.

If finalized, the settlement would add 34 more administrative titles to the existing contract and six more to the list of employees on the step salary schedule, as well as accelerate the pay raise schedules of those employees and reduce health insurance contributions for some employees, among other adjustments.

Approval of the settlement requires four signatures—those of CSEA President Laura Smith and labor relations specialist James G. Wall on behalf of the union workers, and Mr. Schneiderman and Mr. Gregor on behalf of the town. The Town Board authorized Mr. Schneiderman to sign the agreement with a 3-2 vote in March.

Mr. Gregor has repeatedly said he would not sign the agreement because he believes it is a “political giveaway,” and he wants concerns he raised in a three-page memo earlier this year to be addressed—especially his belief that the administrative titles being added to the bargaining unit would result in the union being controlled by high-level clerical and management positions.

“We have a professional politician that would rather have his reelection union deal than really represent the taxpayers,” Mr. Gregor said last week, referring to Mr. Schneiderman. “There are serious consequences to the taxpayers going down the road. It’s an uncomfortable position.

“The highway superintendent has been signing the collective bargaining agreement for over 40 years,” he added. “He did this in closed doors. He didn’t take in any input from any other department heads, or myself.”

Mr. Schneiderman said that he “worked really hard to try to come up with a fair package, one that the town could afford,” to set a positive tone for his administration so union employees know “that they have a boss who’s looking out for them.” He said that Mr. Gregor attended many meetings during the negotiation process, and that he had no reason to believe he wouldn’t sign it.

The supervisor added, though, that if the arbiter determines that Mr. Gregor’s signature is not needed to validate the settlement, he would like to take the matter to court to clarify why the highway superintendent’s name should be on the contract in the first place.

“He is exercising a veto power over the Town Board’s ability to set the proper benefits … for its entire workforce. I have a problem with that because he, by himself, can change the collective bargaining,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “I would like to go further and have the whole thing clarified. Is this how it’s supposed to be—that the highway superintendent has more power than the entire Town Board? He was not elected to veto the Town Board.

“I’m not doing this because of Mr. Gregor—this issue has to be clarified for the town’s ability to manage itself. It’s nothing personal,” Mr. Schneiderman continued.

Mr. Gregor also requested his own attorney for Tuesday’s arbitration, and was represented by Peter A. Bee of Mineola-based Bee Ready Fishbein Hatter & Donovan, LLP, at the town’s expense.

“There’s going to be significant expenses associated with him not signing it,” Mr. Schneiderman said.

But Mr. Gregor said he firmly believes that the CSEA used the PERB complaint as “a back-door way of opening up the contract,” which expires December 31, 2017. He noted that negotiations for the next contract should have started this summer.

“The PERB should’ve been settled by itself—but they refused to do that. It’s a downright giveaway, and [the supervisor] should be ashamed of himself,” Mr. Gregor said. “I work for the taxpayers. This isn’t about a crusade. This is about running a municipality.”

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It is about holding power over the Supervisor, Town Board and the hard working employees of Southampton Town.

Mr. Gregor may hold a grudge about being fired by the town when he was an employee there many, many years ago.
By sgt202 (75), Hampton Bays on Jun 20, 16 12:11 PM
3 members liked this comment
More importantly, why does 27 East need three (3!) nearly identical photos of Gregor to illustrate this report?

This site is in desperate need of a Photo Editor!

By Frank Wheeler (1823), Northampton on Jun 21, 16 11:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
Next, it will be suggested that Gregor is somehow part of the vast rightwing conspiracy. I can confirm that is in no way the case. Alex has never been to any of our meetings and he does not know our secret handshake.

Speaking from across the aisle, there are quite a few issues that find me opposing Gregor. But this has nothing to do with any of them. Are those across the aisle so eager to eat their own if they do not march in step with everybody else? Would I like to see Gregor defeated ...more
By Southampton Patrick (13), Southampton on Jun 20, 16 2:19 PM
Alex needs to go!
By farmlocal (83), Southampton on Jun 20, 16 3:07 PM
3 members liked this comment
By sgt202 (75), Hampton Bays on Jun 20, 16 4:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hey Alex, that is an expired copy of the contract. You are always looking to get your picture in the paper, but you have the wrong props!!!!! Lol!
By Mom of 2 (12), flanders on Jun 20, 16 4:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
I guess only union lackeys are commenting here. I think Mr. Gregor should run for Supervisor. He is the only one who wants to stop the municipal unions from hijacking our children's future. I am sick of the taxpayer, who is NOT represented, but must pay, to be the ones to take it up the **#*$*$! Town employees should pay for their healthcare and they should not get automatic step raises. These have gone the way of the Dodo for the private sector and the public sector is out of touch and breaking ...more
By Babyboo (292), Hampton Bays on Jun 20, 16 6:36 PM
2 members liked this comment
Is it possible, babyboo, that you can show the salary scale of town employees and explain how they are putting anything up your $%^&? Employees DO pay for a large % of their health care, "step" raise are only for the first 4-6 years of service. You wouldn't want someone just hired to go right to top step , would you?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 21, 16 12:19 PM
From 27 East March 2016: "The settlement, if approved, would reduce employee contributions to their individual or family health insurance plans from 20 percent to 10 percent, and would be applied to all union members hired on or after June 10, 2014. Those hired after 1995, but before 2014, pursuant to the settlement, will pay 10 percent towards family plans, and those on individual plan will not contribute. As the contract stands now, union members still pay zero if on an individual health plan, ...more
By Babyboo (292), Hampton Bays on Jun 22, 16 6:31 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Babyboo (292), Hampton Bays on Jun 22, 16 6:34 PM
He's all about the taxpayer until it comes to his own contract. Most of these People make half of what he makes and they pay into there insurance as they should. What does he pay? $0!!!
By GoldenBoy (350), EastEnd on Jun 20, 16 7:10 PM
How many other department heads sign the contract? Answer: NONE
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 21, 16 12:19 PM
How many other Department Heads are elected public officials with the right to hire and fire?

By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 1:12 PM
Hiring and firing is done via Town Board resolution. He has no more influence over the process than any other dept head would have, elected or otherwise. Gregor cant negotiate with the union as he has no "mojo" to put negotiated items in the contract. Again, same as any other dept head.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 16 10:11 AM
I used to think it was all ATH's fault, but apparently Alex has difficulty playing nicely with more than one of the other children. No guarantees, Alex. We know not the day nor the hour.
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on Jun 21, 16 4:31 PM

Alex has difficulty playing well with those public officials who seem to forget the oath(s) they have taken and their responsibility to the taxpayers. Alex position is supported by the legal opinion the town's labor attorney provided at the request of Councilperson Scalera.

We really do not need a Town Supervisor who thinks he is on a TV reality game show popularity contest. Think about his words George.

He renegotiated a contract not due to expire for another ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 1:10 PM
You missed the boat, Neil. George just threatened to take the D from Alex's next run.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jul 3, 16 12:46 PM
The Town Should make everyone in the HWY DEPT including Alex get drug test.
By farmlocal (83), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 11:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
The town already does, they're required to by law under the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991.
By Bob174 (3), Hampton bays on Jun 22, 16 1:29 PM
I think farmlocal means Alex needs to be tested.
By Mom of 2 (12), flanders on Jun 22, 16 4:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
Oh my!!!!
By sgt202 (75), Hampton Bays on Jun 23, 16 9:59 AM
Alex Gregor does a good job for the Town of Southampton highway department. We need more people like him working for the taxpayers.
By Ernie (88), Hampton Bays on Jun 23, 16 3:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
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