Grievance alleges overtime favoritism

On Tuesday, Paul Engel, agent with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 294, who represents the highway union, said that he found Adriance's explanation of overtime assignment reasonable, but has no way of knowing if it's true.

"They claimed last night that they were using the rotational list that they're supposed to use. I have employees telling me they're not using it," he said. "I don't know who is telling me the truth."

As a representative of the union workers, Engel said, he will pursue the grievance until an adequate answer is found.

"It's a new agreement. We understand there's going to be bumps in the road. But if after several attempts [at discussion] doesn't work, you have to take it through the process" he added.

Engel questioned the legality of sending Ostrander out to the job alone, but when asked, he did not produce a law about flagmen. A representative for the state Department of Transportation said that there are safety guidelines that state workers and contractors must follow, but was unsure if such rules would be applicable to Malta workers and whether it would be a legal matter.

Nolen said that if the highway department is operating within the law, the town shouldn't increase costs by changing its procedures.

"A lot of these grievances are actually retaliation, and it's very frustrating," she said.

On overtime, highway department workers earn time-and-a-half, with a minimum of two hours of compensation guaranteed for an overtime call. Excluding an administrative assistant, Ostrander and Adriance, all department workers are members of the union.

Osterhout argued that sending more workers out on a job is a necessary price for safety.

"The whole bill for this call in would have been $250 if it was done right," he said. "Are you going to put somebody out in the road to get run over for $250?"

The Town Board requested copies of the overtime rotational list and a review of law pertaining to the use of flagmen in work zones. The issued is slated to be revisited at the next Town Board meeting scheduled for Monday, Aug. 3.""

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