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Dec 15, 2016 4:56 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Gives Lumps Of 'Coal' To Town Board Members

Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor gave candy coal to the Town Board, Thursday. JEN NEWMAN
Dec 20, 2016 2:15 PM

While wearing a leopard-print Santa hat, Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor jokingly recounted at last week’s Town Board work session a recent “snow conference” where a man “in a red suit” told him he was a good guy and to never give up.

“He gave me a few presents to hand out because he saw problems with the contract,” Mr. Gregor continued, referring to an ongoing town union contract dispute involving his employees.

He then proceeded to hand out bags of candy coal—chocolate that looks like coal, in holiday packaging—to Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and the two Democrats on the Town Board, Julie Lofstad and John Bouvier. He also left a piece of candy coal for the supervisor to give to Laura Smith, president of the town worker’s union.

He then handed out two “nice” bags of candy to the Republican members of the board, Christine Scalera and Stan Glinka.

“There’s no politics here, this is fun—it’s light-hearted,” Mr. Gregor said after handing out the candy at the December 15 meeting. “I just try to do what’s best for the road system and the taxpayers, so please don’t take any offense. We still have 10 days till Christmas—perhaps we can settle this union contract, because it is a little bit of splitting of the workforce.”

This summer, Mr. Gregor refused to sign a settlement between the town and the Southampton chapter of the Civil Service Employees Association, or CSEA. The agreement would have added 34 administrative titles to the existing union contract, approved raises for six positions, accelerated pay raise schedules for those employees and reduced health insurance contributions for some employees, among other adjustments. Mr. Gregor said he saw the settlement agreement as a “giveaway.”

Last month, the town began the appeal process of a court decision ruling that Mr. Gregor’s signature was indeed needed for these contracts to be valid—but only ones affecting Highway Department workers. Of about 298 employees in the CSEA bargaining unit, approximately 59 work under Mr. Gregor. According to Mr. Schneiderman, all town workers have begun receiving the promised benefits of the settlement—with the exception of those in the Highway Department. This will continue unless a compromise is finalized between the union and Mr. Gregor.

But after receiving his bag of coal, Mr. Schneiderman, an Independence Party member, announced that he planned to ask the Town Board to withdraw its appeal of the decision.

“I appreciate your good-faith efforts to resolve this,” Mr. Schneiderman said to Mr. Gregor. “I will actually be going back to the board, asking the board to drop our appeal … I feel you have been working with us in good faith, and that’s going to be my recommendation—that you stay on the contract, and we work together through the end of this contract.”

Mr. Schneiderman added that he would like to see some sort of compromise so Highway Department employees could also benefit from the settlement.

“I think negotiation is a two-way street,” Mr. Gregor responded. “I don’t think I’ve been unreasonable, but people can disagree respectively, and I just want to let you know that I’m just Alex that’s trying to do the best he can.

“My intention was never to be a veto, just someone who was elected to represent the highway workers,” he continued. “I’m certainly never going to be a mediator or a diplomat—but I am logical.”

According to Mr. Schneiderman, Mr. Gregor recently requested permission to hire 10 additional part-time staffers for the winter months as part of a compromise in which he would agree to sign the agreement. The supervisor noted that Ms. Smith rejected the proposal.

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and we pay these people???
By xtiego (683), bridgehampton on Dec 15, 16 9:13 PM
WOW, who knew???
By knitter (1604), Southampton on Dec 15, 16 9:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By islander6615 (133), hampton bays on Dec 15, 16 10:32 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By turkeyloser (22), east quogue on Dec 15, 16 10:38 PM
This picture perfectly explains Mr. Gregor, a complete grinch. What he has been his whole life to the town. A complete headache
By turkeyloser (22), east quogue on Dec 15, 16 10:39 PM
Mike Bloomberg approves of these messages.
By fire11 (276), east hampton on Dec 15, 16 10:42 PM
He's never wrong.

At least, in his own opinion...
By Mr. Z (10907), North Sea on Dec 15, 16 11:18 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By islander6615 (133), hampton bays on Dec 15, 16 11:25 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By islander6615 (133), hampton bays on Dec 15, 16 11:21 PM
He says there's no politics here but it's clear he's building a platform for next years election. He's more interested in meaningless arguments with the town board than serving the taxpayer. I've had enough of this guy...next!!!
By GoldenBoy (337), EastEnd on Dec 15, 16 11:35 PM
2 members liked this comment
You must be one of the 59 highway department members. He is serving the taxpayer by refusing such largesse to public employees. It's the TB that is not serving the taxpayer here. I wish HE was the Town Supervisor.
By Babyboo (257), Hampton Bays on Dec 16, 16 6:45 AM
And just how are you related to gregor?
By Dumpgregor (12), Hampton Bays on Dec 16, 16 3:59 PM
Coming from another disgruntled overfed public "servant." Someday there won't be enough taxpayer money for your inflated pension. I hope I am alive to see that day.
By Babyboo (257), Hampton Bays on Dec 16, 16 6:46 AM
Sounds like a nut case. Who in his right mind would pull a stunt like that? SCAREY...
By knitter (1604), Southampton on Dec 16, 16 9:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
Seven years on the job, what is he still learning? Jay should have had the backbone to throw him out of the meeting. Not political Alex? Way to suck up to the Republicans, so much for being an independent. Going to be a shame when the roads don't get plowed when his crew calls in sick when it snow because you won't help them out. Remember you need them more than they need you!!
By Dumpgregor (12), Hampton Bays on Dec 16, 16 3:58 PM
Jay , j, and j should never had put Gregor in this position. They should have waited for the next cycle. I have participated in at least a dozen contract negotiations. The newer employees always get scr*wed for the benefit of the senior employees. It is not the Town or taxpayers fault, it is the union negotiating process. However, this act is very odd for an elected official and should not be tolerated in Town Board meetings.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Dec 16, 16 7:05 PM
hmmm the voters keep electing Alex. Could it be these voices we hear who oppose him are the greedy union suckups who only care about themselves and not the rest of us? Talk amongst yourselves.
By fire11 (276), east hampton on Dec 16, 16 7:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
I've spoken with Alex. He's the type who always has to explain his actions like "Ok, I'll pick up your leaves because I'm the type of guy who wants to get the job done, and that's why people elected me, and you know I really like to make people happy and you know.....blah blah blah. I just want you to make sure my leaves are picked up by treating your employees and the public right like you were elected to do dummy ! You don't have to go on for 10 minutes about it!
By lirider (263), Hampton Bays on Dec 17, 16 9:32 AM
HMMM anyone know why some homes have their leaves picked up, no senior citizens in residence along with two able bodied 20 somethings? Anther home on a private road had a large payloader and two Town trucks taking away their leaves. No response from the Highway Department .
By bigfresh (4050), north sea on Dec 17, 16 9:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
QED.
By Turkey Bridge (1906), Quiogue on Dec 17, 16 10:34 AM
Maybe they had a medical situation on files
By Resident tax (148), Hampton bays ny on Dec 17, 16 3:46 PM
No medical issues, the 2 properties in question have had their leaves removed by the Town for the last 6 or 7 years.
By bigfresh (4050), north sea on Dec 18, 16 9:22 AM