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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Canajoharie, NY ,

Joshua Thomas
Palatine Justice Ronald Dygert swears in Supervisor Sara Niccoli.

Joshua Thomas
Palatine Justice Ronald Dygert swears in Highway Superintendent Arthur Logan.

Joshua Thomas
Palatine Justice Ronald Dygert swears in Councilmember Betty Sanders.

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Highway department raises discussed during organizational meeting

Thursday, January 09, 2014 - Updated: 2:53 AM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

PALATINE BRIDGE -- On Monday, Palatine Town Board officials were sworn in during the 2014 organizational meeting, including Councilmembers Betty Sanders and Shawn Cotton, Highway Superintendent Arthur Logan and first-term Supervisor Sara Niccoli.

The board also adopted a list of organizational appointments, only making small changes to the 2013 list.

"In the interest of a seamless transition," Niccoli retained Councilmember Michele Whiteman as deputy supervisor.

The board, minus Whiteman, discussed highway department employee pay, ultimately deciding to table a motion to provide a just-below three percent raise until the regular monthly meeting Wednesday, Jan. 22.

For the past three years, the town's highway department employees have received a two percent raise, which amounts to 35 cents an hour at the current rate.

"In my opinion, our guys are falling behind the times as far as everybody else," said Logan, continuing, "other towns know in advance how much they're going to get for the next three years."

Logan said, "I think our guys deserve a decent raise. Our guys do a lot for the town. Our equipment shows it." He pointed out that highway department employees also do county jobs, such as working on shoulders to keep trucks from suffering significant damage during winter plowing.

"We're one of the few townships that can plow the roads as fast as we do," said Logan, explaining that with six trucks operating, the town roads are plowed in two hours, as opposed to the 3.5 or four hours that it takes unnamed neighboring towns.

"We're good at what we do. I think the guys deserve to be rewarded for what they're doing," said Logan, pointing out that the town of Palatine, which has a $200,000 labor budget, averages 40-50 percent less overtime hours than neighboring municipalities.

Logan said that Root Highway Department employees currently make $17.80 per hour, in comparison to Palatine Highway Department employees, who currently make $17.32. He suggested that the Palatine Highway Department employee rate be raised to $17.80 per hour, a just under three percent raise over last year's increase.

Councilmember Richard Becker made a motion to raise the highway department employees' hourly rate to $17.80 per hour, with Cotton seconding the motion, which was, following discussion, tabled.

Niccoli stated, "I'm all for paying people who do a good job a good wage," though as she's just coming into office, she said, "I'm not acquainted with the budget as well as I'd like to be in order to make a good decision." She said she'd like to talk to Logan and review the budget "to make sure any decision we make here can be supported."

She said that the board has the ability to make raises retroactive to Jan. 1, 2014.

     

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