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September 2016 Column - Honoring our Agreements


OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

We’ve all read the stories in the paper of the countless individuals suffering from the ongoing opioid epidemic. There has been a lot of talk of families being ripped apart by this tragedy, too often we hear talk but see little action.

Legislator Ted Morton joined Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard, Holland Central School Superintendent Cathy Fabiatos and Alden School Superintendent Adam Stoltman to announce continued funding for school resource officers (SRO) in several local districts. The SRO program provides a uniformed officer in schools as a way to promote student safety, conflict resolution and anti-bullying initiatives.


At a Legislative session held on September 21, 2017, Legislator Ted Morton honored Lancaster resident, Dick Young as the September 2017 Citizen of the month.


Today, in response to the County Executive’s offer to work with Legislator Morton to develop a compromise Made in America Act, Legislator Ted Morton wrote to him to begin the process.


Legislator Ted Morton first introduced the Made in America Act in support of local manufacturers and local workers in Erie County. After passing the Legislature by a vote of 9-1, the County Executive vetoed the law after instructing the County Attorney to draft a legal opinion.


As we have just celebrated Labor Day and all our students are now back to school, I wanted to discuss a recent legislative issue that you may have read about in the newspaper.

Last December, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1095, the County Executive and ECMC agreed to a memorandum of understanding that modified the contract for ECMC’s police officers for six months. At the conclusion of the six month period, the contract allowed for a six month extension while a long-term contract is hammered out. Two months into this extension, ironically right before Labor Day, the County Executive informed union leadership that he would be reneging on the deal, resulting in an immediate 20 percent pay cut to ECMC police officers.

ASFCME’s leadership approached the Majority Caucus of the Legislature asking for help and requesting that the county honor the agreements. Last week we passed a resolution to uphold our end of the agreement to protect our union employees who had a memorandum of understanding with the county. We have a responsibility to both the taxpayers and our employees to honor our agreements. I’m disappointed that the County Executive tried to cancel the agreement with AFSCME and to do so on the Labor Day holiday, a day we take to honor the impact organized labor has had on our community. Fortunately working with the union’s leadership we were able to honor our word and keep our commitment.

Another resolution we passed last week was a declaration of Suicide Prevention Week in Erie County. Throughout the week you may have noticed a yellow flag flying outside of the Rath Building downtown to raise awareness of suicide prevention. Sadly, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for adults and shockingly the 2nd leading cause of death for youth, ages 10-14. Many people are very uncomfortable talking about the subject but it is an issue we need to keep people aware of. No matter how difficult life may be or the challenges we face, suicide should never be an option. There are so many resources available to help like the Suicide Prevention Coalition of WNY who can be reached via a 24-hour hotline at 716-834-3131.

I hope you all had a wonderful summer, from the forecast it sure looks like the heat isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As always if I can ever be of assistance, please call me at 858-8856 or email ted.morton@erie.gov.