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Smithtown approves 2-year contract, raises for employees’ union

Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio speaks to the

Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio speaks to the crowd at Smithtown Town Hall where the building was officially renamed in honor of his name on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Credit: James Carbone

Smithtown officials have finalized a contract with the town’s largest union that calls for modest salary increases.

Smithtown town board members voted 4-0 on Thursday to have Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio enter into the collective bargaining agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association’s roughly 380 members. Councilwoman Lynne C. Nowick was absent.

The contract, for two years from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017, includes salary increases of 1.4 percent for 2016 and 1.5 percent for 2017.

It also increases a career incentive for continuous years of working for the town by $50 each year. For example, those with a decade of service will receive a $500 annual payment, up from $450 in the previous contract. The annual incentive payment for 15 years of work is $1,350 — up from $1,300, and for 20 years is $1,650 — up from $1,600.

CSEA members will also be entitled to five personal days each year — an increase of one day. Shoe vouchers for employees who work in safety-sensitive positions, such as in the town highway or traffic safety departments, will rise from to $115 from $110.

Vecchio, who negotiated the deal, said that he thought it was a “fair and decent contract” and the salary increases “reasonable.”

“It doesn’t put an extra drain on the budget,” Vecchio said. “Now, with restrictions imposed by the tax cap, it becomes difficult to allocate more money for salaries.”

Vecchio said he was also reluctant to go with a longer contract because of the unpredictability of the tax cap.

Kelly Brown, president of the CSEA, said she thought the contract was “fair,” given “the economic times and the tax cap.”

But Brown said members were disappointed that the contract was for two years. “I think it’s beneficial for the town to have a four-year contract, because they know those are fixed costs that they can budget for, but the constantly changing tax cap has put a great burden on the running of town government,” she said.

Over the past three years, the CSEA has lost 30 full-time members who have retired, Brown said, adding that the town is not filling positions unless it is a necessity. “The remaining work force is taking on more and more work,” she said, but “town residents should know that their town services have not been affected in any way.”

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