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The presidents and I of the other unions, (COBANC’s  Billy Imandt, the 9th Judicial District’s Selene Jackson and Suffolk County Court Employees Association’s Bill Dobbins) which represent court clerks had a meeting to continue to push the case for an upgrade. We met with Barry Clarke, Ron Younkins and Jean George. This was a full-court press united effort from all of the presidents to achieve an upgrade.

Some of you have heard falsely, that the answer was “No.” This is not the case.

All of the presidents pushed vigorously for a letter like the court officers received. I asked for the Younkins letter and was informed it will come from Barry Clarke.  I pushed for the letter to be in the same time frame (now) as was the court officers time period.

OCA is not yet able to pin themselves down to a date. They recognize we will get an upgrade and a letter will be presented at a future date.

I understand your frustration and anger, we have been waiting for too long. Your anger is palpable and boiling over. You are seething and I am there with you.

No one, from the past to now has worked harder and more diligently than me to bring this to fruition.  Make your anger the 2.0 version and this reflects my feelings.

I have presented your (our) sentiment to OCA at every single meeting I had with them. I re-emphasized the rock bottom morale. I left no stone unturned on your behalf.

Despite the lack of an immediate time-table I remain optimistic. We have more movement than we have ever had. They recognized that an upgrade is an issue of fairness and recruitment. They stated that there will be changes and an upgrade in the clerk series. We have heard “No” in the past and there were no “No’s”. They acknowledged that no title has had more changes in job function than ours. They have done the foundation work for an upgrade. The unit that will do the upgrade will now be able to devote their full attention to this as they also dealt with exams and there are no exams scheduled until almost June.

Ron stated that the letters that you wrote regarding job changes and additional work  were very helpful in our pursuit for an upgrade. To all who submitted – thank you for contributing to our cause. For those of you who did not, it’s not too late. Your letters are still welcome.

I was relentless in pushing for something in writing. Barry said he, Ron and Jean would caucus on this and they will get back to us. They will look at the timing of the letter and there will be more regular updates and meetings.

These are new and significant statements that we haven’t heard before, so  yes, I am optimistic. All of these years it’s been “No”. This is a close as it has ever been. You cannot make demands on discretionary. You keep pressing the case and chipping away.

The budget will be presented to the governor and legislature by December 1. OCA is seeking a 2% increase. As was the case with the court officers there is no money earmarked for an upgrade. When the budget is submitted and approved they subsequently find the money within the budget.

Hopefully soon we’ll get a date for our letter or better yet, the letter.

I am fully confident that I’ll be able to get this done. I need your patience and support.

Pam Browne