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Smithtown officials ratify union agreement

Smithtown officials have unanimously ratified a memorandum of agreement with the town's Civil Service Employees Association, which is awaiting union approval before implementation.

The collective bargaining agreement was negotiated by Supervisor Patrick Vecchio and voted for by town board members at last week's board meeting.

Kelly Brown, union president, said Monday that the memo and a revised drug and alcohol policy will be presented within the next week to the union's 430 members, all full-time employees in all town departments. Brown said she hopes to schedule a contract vote in the next two weeks.

The memo includes 2 percent salary raises for 2013, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013, and 1.5 percent salary increases for 2014 and 2015, which Vecchio described as "fair to taxpayers and fair to the employees."

But Brown said "it's a little bit below what a cost-of-living [increase] would be, but in the end everybody has their jobs; there's no threat of layoffs."

The agreement expanded the town's drug and alcohol policy -- making it applicable to all employees who drive vehicles or equipment, not just those who possess commercial drivers' licenses -- and made employees responsible for paying for as many as eight random drug or alcohol tests, if they violated the policy.

Vecchio said the changes represented an effort to reduce the town's liabilities and costs, respectively.

Under the proposed agreement, an employee whose duties include driving a town vehicle will also be subject to immediate termination if the person's license is revoked for a second conviction of driving while intoxicated or driving while ability impaired.

"When you've got someone now who is a repeat offender, and is not able to do their job duties, it's a burden on their fellow employees and the town," Brown said.

If approved, the contract would be in effect from Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2015.

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