May 17, 2010

 

QUICK NOTES FROM YCEA LOCAL #1 MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS

 

The County formally communicated with YCEA requesting that we agree to reopen our contract to address wages, hours and other working conditions.  YCEA responded formally that the Association was not willing to open the contract without having a specific understanding of the reasons for modifying the contract.  The County continued to be unwilling to specify their intent, but YCEA offered to meet with the County informally to discuss the request.  At this meeting, the County explained that they are continuing to experience a structural budget deficit of approximately $7 million, that if they implement the terms and conditions of the pending labor contracts it will add an additional $3 million to this deficit.  Additionally, if the County Board of Supervisors wishes to maintain a $2-$4 million in budget reserves that would be added on top of the pending shortfall.

 

YCEA membership meetings were held on Tuesday, May 11 at the Packard Building on Thursday, May 13 at the Government Center.  Both meetings were well attended, an approximate total of 180.  The primary purpose of these meetings was to receive feedback from the membership regarding whether the Association should conduct formal discussions with the County regarding possible options to mitigate the pending budget deficit for fiscal year 2010-2011.  The membership attending both meetings felt that the Association should conduct exploratory discussions, but not open the contract or conduct formal negotiations with the County at this time.

 

Various rumors were put to rest at the membership meetings.  The primary concern was a report that the County may have to issue registered warrants instead of normal payroll before the end of this fiscal year.  The Appeal Democrat had reported that Robert Bendorf made this projection.  That was simply not true.  It was Pat McGrath the District Attorney who made this statement, which was directed at the Auditor Dean Sellers.  Mr. McGrath made this statement in frustration because of information that had materialized the previous week regarding the handling of the County's impact fees and contingency funds.  In simple terms the County began this fiscal year with an anticipated fund balance of $10 million to be available on June 30, 2010.  At midyear it was determined that this fund balance amount included $2.2 million in impact fees that should've been allocated to a restricted reserve.  Two weeks ago, it was also discovered that the budget reserve established by the Board of Supervisors of $4.7 million was also included in this amount.  The impact fees and the budget reserve should not have been included in the anticipated year-end fund balance, which misled the County Administrator's Office into believing there were more funds then actually available. 

 

YCEA President Robin Timoszyk has appointed an ad hoc committee composed of the Unit Directors and herself to meet with the County.  A meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, May 20 with the County to determine what the County is seeking in terms of modifications to the contract and what the County would be willing to provide in exchange in the form of non-economic improvements to working conditions.  YCEA will be scheduling a membership meeting for the following week to report back to the membership.