BY MICHAEL RICONDA
New City – The Rockland County Legislature convened on February 2 to discuss various matters, paying particular attention to a contentious resolution, which fills a potentially unfair gap left by a technicality of law.
Following an occasionally tense debate over the fairness of the measure, the vote was almost unanimous, with Legislator Ed Day casting the only opposing vote. The resolution permits certain Rockland Association of Management (RAM) employees serving as undersheriffs, and a handful of other positions with other departments, to receive paid holidays, sick pay totaling half of the wages from missed days, four personal days, and 15 vacation days.
Several legislators expressed concern over the equity of the bill, but ultimately voted for the measure after continued assurances that the intent was to treat both union and non-union employees equally and that the measure would not alter the RAM contract or provide extra benefits to already covered employees.
Day stated that he supported the initial measure in the Budget & Finance Committee which only addressed undersheriff positions, but felt that it was inappropriate to discuss the other positions which the committee did not address, especially when there was no rush to pass the resolution.
“There is no compelling reason why we are having this discussion,” Day said. “We can’t make policy on the fly.”
Legislator Alden H. Wolfe emphasized that the item is an effort to balance out an unfair situation where some undersheriffs may receive benefits while others do not. He added that there was no need to address the other positions in committee because the same process applied and they had already been discussed as an extension of the issue.
“We’re simply creating equity,” Wolfe said. “Piecemeal is not the way to go.”
To alleviate any remaining concerns, Day proposed a motion to table the measure until it could be discussed further in the committee and a motion to divide the question of undersheriff benefits from the other benefits, both of which were defeated.