Glenville supervisor says police union's request for a mediator 'bizarre'
The Glenville Police Benevolent Association, which has largely remained silent during contract negotiations, is now speaking out about the process and the town's call for health-care concessions.
The police union released a statement on Saturday, Oct. 30, saying its members were unhappy the negotiations regarding health insurance increases and salaries. The PBA declared an impasse on contract negotiations and are seeking the New York State Public Employment Relations Board to provide a mediator to help both parties reach a settlement.
I am surprised and disappointed in this action, said Town Supervisor Christopher Koetzle. "We were feeling positive about it [the negotiation process], and for this to come at this juncture is bizarre."
Koetzle said a mediator isn't necessary to complete negotiations, and an agreement could be reached that is fair and affordable. He said a mediator would only lengthen the process.
Detective William Marchewka, president of the Glenville Police Benevolent Association, said public statements made by Koetzle at Town Board meetings and to the media about negotiation conflicts upset him, and the unions were not to blame for the unsuccessful negotiations.
"He blamed the unions for stalling negotiations and threatened us with layoffs," said Marchewka in a prepared statement. "We are not the problem. Our Association proposed concessions in health insurance and modest salary increases that would have saved the town money. Town negotiators did not bother to respond to us so we filed for mediation."
Koetzle said there have been no threats of layoffs or reductions. He also said only two weeks have passed since their previous meeting with the union, but as a public governing body, they are limited to when they can meet.
"We were making progress; we were set to bring a proposal back to them," said Koetzle.