The Nassau County Legislature Monday backed a bid by correction officers to base demotions or job cuts on "time in rank" instead of years on the job and approved a requirement that all construction contracts in excess of $500,000 have apprenticeship programs.
The new apprenticeship legislation, which still must be signed by County Executive Edward Mangano, will eliminate loopholes that had allowed contractors to avoid the program and related costs by subcontracting much of the work.
"We've had this apprenticeship requirement for some time, but we also had a clause that allowed those with subcontractors doing less than $100,000 worth of the work to avoid it," Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker told the legislators. "There was quite a bit of subcontracting work for $98,000 and $99,000."
Union leaders support the legislation. "That was very good for organized labor and for the county of Nassau. You get skilled professionals to work with the apprentice programs," said Phil Capobianco, the business representative for Operating Engineers Local 138.
The legislators also unanimously sent a "home rule message" to the state legislature, supporting efforts by the Nassau Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, known as COBA, to amend state civil service law.
COBA's request was triggered by the demotion of 30 front-line corporals in the jail in 2012. The union got the demotions overturned for unrelated reasons.
In some cases, a six-year corporal would have been demoted before a one-year corporal because the latter had more service seniority. "It caused us to lose many senior corporals," said Richard Clark, COBA's first vice president.In other action, the legislature approved the required 1.25 percent state sales tax addition, as it does every two years, bringing its total sales tax share to 4.25 percent on the dollar.
It also sent its biannual request to Albany for its'it' refers to the legislature or to Albany?/rw 3 percent hotel and motel tax.