Democratic Nassau County Executive-elect Laura Curran Friday asked outgoing Republican County Executive Edward Mangano to reverse the transfer this summer of nearly 40 appointees into union jobs and rescind the county’s agreement with Civil Service Employees Association President Jerry Laricchuita.
Curran said in a letter hand delivered to Mangano that providing union protection to some 26 community service representatives and other appointees who otherwise could be fired at will “were attempts to alter the terms of the collective bargaining agreement before upcoming negotiations.”
The CSEA agreement, along with all other county union contracts, expires at the end of this month.
Curran also said the transfer of 12 deputy county attorneys into the union title of assistant county attorney “served no purpose other than to guarantee them future employment.” Unlike deputy county attorneys, assistant county attorneys cannot be hired and fired at will.
Curran suggested she may eliminate the jobs. “You should be aware that, at this point, I see no reason to retain the assistant county attorney position,” she wrote.
Neither Mangano nor Laricchuita intend to comply with the request from Curran, who takes office in January.
“This was a valid agreement between the CSEA union and Nassau County and has already been implemented. The county executive cannot just reverse a binding agreement,” said Deputy County Executive Ed Ward.
“If Laura Curran wants to renegotiate with me, that’s not a problem,” Laricchuita said. He said he believed the state’s public employees relations board would side with him in unionizing the community service representatives.
“They belong in the union,” Laricchuita said. “They never should have been out of the union. We want to make that a competitive job.”
He said the assistant county attorney positions already exist, allowing deputy county attorneys to move into the open titles. “I can’t stop that,” he said.
In late May, Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker signed a memorandum of agreement with Laricchuita to reclassify the community service representatives, who traditionally were patronage employees. By reclassifying their titles, they have union protection against firing.
Reclassifying them in May also means that they will have served their six-month probation before Curran takes office.
Walker said last summer the changes were intended to provide for “continuity of government” rather than protect the workers or to hamstring the incoming county executive.
But Curran “believes these moves were made simply to give job protection to employees of the current administration’s choosing, with no good-government purpose. That is not appropriate,” said her spokesman, Philip Shulman.