It should give us great pride that the state and our Democratic governor have also recognized Mangano’s good work, and thought so much of it to actually give him a substantial cash reward, one that he will further share with you. It’s refreshing to see good government trump partisan politics.
The legislative session in Albany is almost at a close for the summer. One major accomplishment is noteworthy and that, in my opinion, is the important deal reached by state lawmakers to reform the binding arbitration process. Instead of counties like Nassau having to rely on partisan arbitrators who bend every which way for organized labor, the state has created a 10-member financial restructuring board that could serve as an alternative for handling disputes between labor and municipalities.
Further, the legislation mandates that arbitrators will have to base 70 percent of their decision on a municipality’s ability to pay. It is critically important for local governments to survive, especially here in Nassau County, where many members of organized labor earn six-figure salaries. When you combine the excessive salaries with exorbitant compensation packages, it adds up to a huge burden for taxpayers.
For example, recently in Rockville Centre, after months of negotiations, an arbitrator awarded the village police a 6.6 percent pay raise along with back pay, or retroactive raises. As I’ve previously pointed out, our economy continues to struggle. Ask your friends in the private sector when the last time was that they got a raise, especially a retroactive one.
Tough times call for tough measures, but thanks to reckless arbitration, it has been wine and roses if you’re a member of a union in Nassau County. Just think of the position our county would be in if Mangano wasn’t slashing waste left and right.
Governor Cuomo’s original proposal went as far as to suggest that any pay raises for labor be capped at 2 percent. Currently, longevity pay allows for steep pay increases.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t included in the final bill, but Cuomo and the Legislature deserve kudos for their efforts.
Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.