CSEA Legal Meeting Minutes

CSEA Briefing on status of the legal action taken against monroe county…..
Monday, July 24, 2017 2PM
IBEW Local 86 Union Hall
2300 East River Rd.

Introductions of speakers:

MS. Flo Tripi, CSEA President, monroe county CSEA Labor Relations Specialist Mr. Rob Ellis
CSEA Attorney, Albany, Jennifer Zegarelli…several other members of the CSEA Rochester team also assisted with answering the many questions that came up during the briefing.

Ms. Tripi opened the meeting by reviewing the reason for the meeting; she explained that monroe county has changed some of the health benefits and not in favor of our retirees.

These changes have resulted in higher co-pays, increased prescription costs/co-pays, seeing a specialist resulting in higher co-pays and DOES NOT cover some of the medical needs of our retirees. At this time, Ms. Tripi introduced the CSEA Attorney, Ms. Jennifer Zegarelli. Ms. Zegarelli is based in Albany, New York and travels the state regarding labor relations issues.

Ms. Zegarelli (518-257-1443) shared information on the process that CSEA has gone through over the past 10 years representing their membership. Once advised by several members and advised of the changes that started affecting these individuals CSEA began work on these issues. Ms. Zegarelli has taken over this work from now retired Mr. Paul Bamburger. Ms. Zegarelli reviewed the legal actions taken over the years:

Legal action was filed in February 2009 on behalf of CSEA member, Ms. Maggie Bryon. This action was filed against monroe county on her behalf to STOP the municipality from changing already contractually agreed upon retiree health benefits. After meetings in chambers with the county representative present, it was decided to withdraw this action. The Judge felt that this action was too large and language used was ambiguous. So, in order to pursue future actions, this proceeding was withdrawn.

Legal action was filed in July 2015 on behalf of CSEA member, Ms. Roberta Ames. In November, 2016 case was dismissed by monroe county supreme court Justice Debbie Martin. The Court decision was based on reviewing “past practices” stating that Medicare has been around for such a long period that this case had no merit.

This legal action HAS NOT been filed yet. CSEA attorneys have rewritten said legal action and plan is to file it with the 4th Appellate NYS Court. The CSEA action has been broken down into three (3) classes, those that have retired before 2005, 2005 to 2013 and those who retired after 2013. All will be represented within this action.

There has been another case filed on behalf of the CSEA Unit representing the monroe county sheriff’s command staff. This filing was dismissed as the names of those individuals stated in this action will be involved with #3 of this writing.

Grievances have been filed against monroe county regarding retiree’s dependents (children), still pending, and no decisions from hearing officer.

Many questions were asked at the end of this portion of the presentation. I wish more S.O.A.R. members could have attended to hear the information that was shared from these questions. Such as if spouses would be covered in any legal CSEA action? Yes!
Have other Unions/Groups started to push back to other municipalities? Yes!
Can CSEA produce talking points to use when calling family, friends and elected officials? Yes!

One attendee spoke of moving to Orleans County, NY and having his retiree medical insurance benefits dropped. Answer, information from the county explains that a retiree can only reside in an area covered by Excellus.

With any gathering, we will work our best to bring to you the information that is being distributed, but that does not release you, the individual, from making your own inquiries and investigation on any issue, then make your educated decision.

Do your research, check with your union officials, check with CSEA and other retirees web sites for more information, Stay connected! Check in with the New Yorkers against Corruptions web site.

*MS. TRIPI SPOKE OF THE NEED FOR ALL IN ATTENDANCE TO START WORKING ON THESE ISSUES BY SPEAKING WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS, AND BY CONTACTNG THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS. We need to mobilize. We need everyone to contact family, friends and our local officials to share information and express our displeasure with these changes. Do you know that some of our fellow retirees have had to choose between food and medicine? That’s how important it is to place pressure on our elected officials… Stay quiet, stay uninformed and lose your benefits you have worked so hard for.

Ms. Tripi spent the remainder of the meeting sharing information on the possible upcoming NYS Constitutional Convention. The vote to hold the event in 2018 is scheduled for this fall’s elections, November 7, 2017.The vote to hold this event MUST be defeated. The preposition #1 is located on the reverse side of this ballot. LOOK FOR IT. If you do not vote it will be counted as a Yes Vote!

You may ask the question, “Why should this convention not occur”? The need for this convention may be broadcast as a way of working on political reform, don’t believe it. The real reason is to open state pensions for use as the governor determines. First and foremost, any/all work that could possibly be worked on during this type of event can be worked on during our regularly scheduled legislation sessions, yes, our legislators could deal with any/all issues when they are at work for us during regular legislative sessions!
If there is a convention, who will attend Each of the 62 NYS districts can send 2 representatives. They will be paid $80,000, unlimited office space and staff. First order of business for these delegates is to establish a time line for work, their work could drag on for an unlimited amount of time! Most importantly, the delegates are chosen by the governor! Whom do you think he will appoint to this work? The issues that it has been reported that they could work on is; public pensions, collective bargaining rights, strengthening the NYS SAFE ACT, and any other part of our NYS Constitution they wish to rewrite.
November 7, 2017, Election Day…..remember what we can do to assist with the control of our state.

Support for Constitutional Convention Drops

A Siena college poll released on Tuesday indicates that while two-thirds of New Yorkers have not heard anything about the November 7th ballot question, support for holding a convention has dropped from 62 percent in May to just 47 percent in July. This is certainly encouraging.

RPEA and other organizations continue to stress that convening a convention is an expensive and inefficient way to amend the state constitution. Plus, certain protections and rights already in the constitution could be at risk.

In a related question which will also be on the November ballot, voters overwhelmingly support the constitutional amendment which could reduce the pensions of public officers convicted of felonies in relation to their official duties.

Source: Retired Public Employees Association

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Monroe County Retiree Recertification Letter

It is that time of year again: time to complete the County of Monroe Retiree Questionnaire.

If not already, you should be receiving this document soon. I cannot express strongly enough that you should:

  • Review this document carefully before signing; examine the information on the lower part of the form just below your signature. The information contained here indicates the retiree health plan you are enrolled in and who is covered. If this information is correct, sign the document; if not, contact the Monroe County Department of Human Resources to determine why it is not correct.
  • Complete the document ASAP
  • I would highly recommend that you do not place completed document in the US Mail without first determining the best method of guaranteeing its delivery. The US Mail has several options you can use to insure its delivery. You can also the FAX telephone number listed on the Registered Mail works well for this purpose.

Protect your benefits, process your paper work carefully.

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Tri Town Newsletter July 2017

The Tri Town Newsletter features articles that would be informative to everyone. Click here to download the latest edition.

Click here to open the Tri-Town MCSO supplement.

Click here to open the brochure for the 2017 Gates Chili Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament & Dinner Auction.

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NYS Constitutional Convention Meeting

The present New York State government is proposing the NYS Constitutional Convention scheduled for 2018. Our sources indicate that during this event, NYS government officials may/will attempt to change retirement programs now the law of the state.

S.O.A.R. has scheduled it next business meeting for June 20, 2017, 6PM to be held at the Gates Fire House #1, 2355 Chili Ave. If you wish to learn more about this event that may very well alter or take away your retirement benefits, we urge you to attend. Bring your spouse. Speakers and a presentation is planned about this issue and how it could severely alter your retirement benefits, both financial and medical.

Sitting is limited, please RSVP by June 5, 2017 by using our contact form.

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