Next week will be the third time, in a month and a half, that I will have visited Albany on behalf of COBANC

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
STRATEGY: Get more money for the OCA budget and have the Legislators direct OCA to spend it on staffing and compensation (raises). The plan began in the first week of February when Suffolk President (SCCEA), Bill Dobbins and I went up early to meet with members of the Senate and Assembly Judiciary committee. The meetings were arranged by COBANC's lobbyist, Peter Meringolo. Our plan was to tell them about our issues, find out who was sympathetic and who was willing to help. That led to the amazing testimony of Assemblyman Mike Montesano, Al Graf and Senator Diane Savino, at the Public Protection Hearing, who called out OCA about staffing and fair compensation packages. Peter also set me up to testify at that hearing on February 4th. To see all of the pertinent testimony from that day click here to go to our new COBANC YouTube page.

Then, on February 23rd, while at a meeting in Manhattan with our NPO (non-peace officer) upgrade partnership, with 7 other unions [COBANC, Suffolk, 9th JD, NYC Court Reporters, NYC Lower Court Attorneys, NYC Superior Court Attorneys, DC37 and CWA], we came up with the idea that if eight Presidents went to Albany on lobby day (Tuesdays) it would have an even greater impact and keep the pressure on. Once again Lobbyist, Peter Meringolo did a fantastic job of arranging a tour for me and the other seven Presidents. On March 8th, a world wind day, we were able to meet with Judiciary committee members, Assemblymen Peter Abbatte, Mike Montesano, Anthony Palumbo, Al Graf and Senators Tom Croci, Diane Savino, Jack Martins, Marty Golden, Phil Boyle and Michael Venditto. We also met with Assembly Majority leader Carl Heastie's Chief of Staff who also brought along representatives of the Ways and Means committee. Our last appointment was with Senate Majority leader John Flanagan and his staff members.

What is very important to note is that Peter Abbatte (Chairman of the Governmental Employees committee), Ways and Means and the Judiciary will be the three committees that will decide on our contract if it goes to the legislature.

The meetings went very well and I took every opportunity to forewarn everyone we met that COBANC is at impasse with our contract negotiations and are heading towards "your committees!" to decide on our contract. From what I understand OCA is already being warned not to bring this contract to the committees because they may not like the outcome!

So, the biggest obstacle in getting more money for the budget to get more money for staffing and compensation, is the Governor. That being said, Peter Meringolo is working on getting a meeting next week with Governor Cuomo's Chief of Staff and Chief attorney. Peter says that if Bill Dobbins and I can get the Governor representatives to see and sympathize with our plight, we've convinced the people that have the most influence on the Governor. If we can do that we should be successful in what we are trying to accomplish. Our trip is March 21 and 22nd.

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