When two committees of the Penn Yan Village Board disagreed over an issue with the Penn Yan Police Benevolent Association's benefits, Mayor Douglas Marchionda Jr. wanted to offer a motion for the option he favors. Instead, he ended up appointing a committee to hash over the differences and return to the March board meeting with a proposal.
The issue is how much additional money the village should put into the medical flexible spending accounts of members of the PBA. Because Blue Cross/Blue Shield discontinued the health insurance policy that had been approved by the PBA and village board during the last round of contract negotiations, the village board and PBA agreed on a different policy. But the new policy, which became effective Jan. 1, 2008 doesn't offer the same level of prescription coverage, so the village board's personnel committee has been discussing the issue with the PBA members.
The committee and PBA members had not come to an agreement yet, according to Personnel Committee Chairman Rich Stewart, who said his last offer to the PBA was to make an additional contribution to the flexible spending accounts held by the members. The offer was to contribute $200 for a member with family medical coverage; $150 for a member with two person coverage and $100 for a member with single coverage.
Stewart said PBA President Jeff Stewart (no relation to Rich Stewart) contacted him to say the PBA membership rejected the offer.
But at the Feb. 17 Village Board meeting, Nancy Taylor, chair of the Public Safety Committee, said the PBA members agreed to accept an offer made by the management committee that periodically meets with the PBA. That committee (Taylor, Marchionda and Trustee Willie Allison) offered to pay $400 for a member with family coverage, $300 for a member with two person coverage and $200 for a member with single coverage.
When Taylor offered a motion for the village board to adopt, Trustee Robert Hoban, another member of the personnel committee, objected to the management committee negotiating with the PBA.
During a back and forth between Marchionda and Hoban, Marchionda said the offer was not a negotiation. "They (PBA members) have been paying for something the village negotiated to give them years ago," he said.
Allison said the labor/management committee wasn't aware of the communication that had been happening between the personnel committee and the PBA.
Taylor withdrew her motion, and suggested the two committees work together with the PBA to come to a solution.
Marchionda said the issue has been delayed for more than a year, and he'd like the board to vote on it now. "If it gets voted down, then we'll go back and look at the numbers again," he said, later adding, "I think it's important to make a decision. It's the only legal way we can compensate them."
He offered the motion to approve the larger amount.
But Allison said, "In all fairness...I would like to see everyone as well informed as possible."
Trustee Robert Church, who is chairman of the Finance Committee, said he didn't feel informed enough to vote on the issue. He said he counts on committee recommendations to make his decisions when voting.
"We have two committees. One says one thing. One says something else. I want to be totally fair, but without research, I have no clue on how I can vote, and I don't want to see us vote it down because of me, because that's not fair to our police department."
With that, Marchionda withdrew his motion and appointed Taylor, Stewart and Church to a committee that will review the issue and bring a recommendation back to the full board at the March meeting.