Letter to membership regarding an upgrade
Last week I met with Ron Younkins and Barry Clarke and they have been actively reviewing our court clerk series and the series upstate.
There will be a reclassification of the court clerk series.
I stressed that we are peace officers, hence we are at a different structure than the series upstate.
We can expect a definitive letter sometime this year and the letter will spell out which titles would be upgraded and the timetable for implementation.
There has been a problem with recruitment and retention so there may be a larger upgrade in our lower titles.
I reiterated my support for an upgrade for all of our titles.
NYSCCA Election Results:
Pamela Browne – 514
Glen Damato – 589
1st Vice President
Brian Hamerman – 572
Saverio Balzano – 163
John McConnell – 340
2nd Vice President
Nikwe Huey – 432
Ramon Vega – 533
Michael Greico – 481
Tina Carolei – 446
Michael C. Cawley – 250
Gary Lane – 371
Robert Byrnes – 513
Irene Laracuenta – 455
Angela Mitchell – 413
Christine Miller – 319
Donna Orr – 445
G. James McGreevy – 525
Eamon Fuller – 263
Averell Golub – 211
Patricia Daughn – 353
MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT PAM BROWNE REGARDING OUR PENSIONS
You can lose your pension!
Our pensions are guaranteed through the state constitution; if you change the constitution, your pension benefits can change.
I cannot stress this enough, your pension rights are at stake, as well as the pension benefits of retirees.
In exchange for modest salaries now, we have the reward of guaranteed pensions at the end of our careers.
We have to educate ourselves, our family members, friends, neighbors, and everyone.
A change in the state’s constitution can affect your collective bargaining rights, the environment, women’s rights, civil rights, and many of the things that enhance our quality of living.
By law, every twenty years the question of holding a constitutional convention appears as a proposal on the ballot on Election Day in November. That year is 2017.
Contract Vote – Article 78
You, the membership have spoken, you have collectively chosen to vote down the contract. As I had stated, it should be entirely your decision to accept or reject the proposed contract and if you voted it down, that would send the ultimate message to OCA. This is your right and your right alone. I had to fight to ensure that your rights would prevail.
When the Recommendation language in our Constitution and By Laws was brought to my attention I sought legal clarification. The decision to send the contract out for a vote did not happen in a vacuum, I sought a legal opinion and the attorneys vetted the language and indicated that legally, the contract shall be voted on by the membership, and had to be sent to the membership.
Mr. Glenn Damato a delegate, some other delegates and some members disagreed with the attorneys contentions and Mr. Damato subsequently sought a TRO to stop the ballots and when this was denied he sought prohibition. A Justice of the Supreme Court issued a ruling denying Mr. Damato the relief he sought and ruled that I was correct in putting the contract out for a vote. Mr. Damato had sought to deny you your rights. Justice Bannon judicially ruled on the language in our Constitution which removes any doubt as to its application, interpretation or meaning. This is our democratic process. That you the members, have the final say, yes or no is democracy and is set forth in our Constitution.
I went against a majority of the board in putting this contract out to you the members as some of the board disagreed and said the contract should not go out. It was not supposed to go out unless they voted yes and only then does the contract go to you for a vote.
My position was what our attorneys indicated and was vindicated by the judge’s decision. The judge ruled it is but a recommendation and the only requirement is that there is a recommendation, be it positive or negative, and even if it is against, the ballots are to go out. The judge ruled that I did not exceed my authorized powers under the Constitution and By Laws. Additionally she wrote that intent is defined by what is written and there is an exception carved out for a CBA.
As your president, one of my duties is to enforce our Constitution and I was under fire for doing so. I had been told articles of impeachment had been circulating but even with these obstacles and threats I stayed firm and steadfast and fought for your rights. This is leadership under fire and opposition. Others tried to take your rights away from you and prevent you from exercising your constitutionally mandated right to vote on this contract.
I will always stand firm for the rights of the membership; I will do this now and every time in the future.
The board and I will meet next week to determine our next step towards securing a contract. As always, all of us on the board work together to serve you. The judge’s decision follows in its entirety.
Pam Browne, President
OCA Classification Plan Update
LETTER TO MEMBERSHIP ON A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION – YOU CAN LOSE YOUR PENSION
Do not make the mistake and believe that your pension is guaranteed, it is guaranteed through the state’s constitution. Change the constitution, and they can change your pension benefit. Retirees pension benefits are at risk as well. This is a dire and real threat.
The New York State Constitution mandates that every 20 years the voters must decide/vote whether or not to hold a constitutional convention.
This will be on the ballot this fall. If the voters approve the convention, delegates to the convention would be elected the following year, 2018. Each of the state’s Senate districts would have three delegates, and there will be 15 at-large delegates. The convention would be April 2019 and any changes to the constitution that are approved by more than 50% of the delegates would be put on the ballot before the voters. If the voters then approve, these changes become part of our state constitution.
Polls have indicated that currently, the state’s voters would vote for a constitutional convention. If a convention takes place, all tenets of the constitution are subject to scrutiny and revision. This can threaten pension benefits, collective bargaining rights, contractual rights, the right of unions to organize, protections for the environment, civil rights and social welfare etc. Many of the things that we hold near and dear and enhance our quality of life are at stake.
Corporate interests have long looked at our guaranteed pensions and would like to see it change into a 401K. Anyone who witnesses the extreme and prolonged downward spirals of the stock market should fear their pension being placed in such a tenuous situation. As civil servants, our salaries are modest, but it is with the promise of a guaranteed pension when we retire. We have given up income now for the reward of income in retirement.
There are many in the state who are envious and would take away our pensions because they are without pensions. Instead of saying “How can I get a pension also, or I used to have a pension, how can I get it back?” They would take away our pensions which would benefit no one and we would all be in the same predicament.
We have to educate ourselves, our families, friends and everyone. A constitutional convention was last held in 1967 and the voters rejected the proposed changes and the cost to the taxpayers for the convention was 47 million dollars. Today that figure is 350 million dollars. This is a boondoggle that we cannot afford on many levels.
Unions in New York State have set up a closed Face Book page through which we can access and share information and strategies. As soon as our union is linked up, we will share the connection with you.
Everyone, active members and retirees must get involved.
The New York State
Court Clerks Association
DESERVES A FAIR CONTRACT AND
• Our Dedicated Court Clerks Make The Courts Work
• We Process Over 2.5 Million Filings Per Year
• We Are The Judiciary ‘s Supervisory Peace Officers
Second Vice President
Marcus T. Diaz
First Vice President
Imogene V. Jones
The NYS Court Clerks are the backbone of the Unified Court System. With over 1500 professional men and women, we keep the Courts moving. As the supervisory peace officers in NYC, our members are integral in fulfilling the core mission of the courts. Our Association serves to protect the rights and advance the benefits of all our active members and retirees.Pamela Browne
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