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Smithtown News

Editorial: Suffolk police pact a smart change in direction

For two decades, Suffolk County and the Police Benevolent Association have failed to negotiate contracts, leaving the decision in the hands of an arbitrator. County Executive Steve Bellone and the union's new leader have broken that unhealthy cycle and, we hope, have led the way to a new era of collective bargaining for the county.

The proposed contract, unveiled yesterday by Bellone and the PBA president, Noel DiGerolamo, offers labor peace through 2020, helps the county control its costs and gives officers job security. It also gives the PBA something that it wanted desperately: a return to patrolling the Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway, a role Bellone's predecessor had turned over to lower-paid deputy sheriffs.

Like any compromise, the agreement has features that will please and displease both sides. But the key point is that it's a negotiated contract, hammered out in face-to-face talks limited to Bellone, DiGerolamo and Paul Margiotta, the county's labor relations director. Past arbitrated contracts were popular because they offered benefits for both the politicians and the unions. The union got more than it could have won in negotiation, and at the same time county officials were able to dodge responsibility for those costly contracts. The loser in this game of wink and nod, of course, is the taxpayer.

From the start, Bellone wanted a negotiated contract, and he proceeded strategically. The PBA supported him in last year's election, so cynics expected him to give them back the highways right away. But he smartly held that out as a big bargaining chip. To his credit, DiGerolamo kept negotiating, even after he was justified in moving toward arbitration.

Joe Dujmic Receives First Major Endorsement


Earlier this week, Joe Dujmic, candidate for New York State’s 10th Assembly District received his first major endorsement of the campaign from Suffolk County Legislator Dr. William Spencer, of the 18th Legislative District.

Dujmic was publicly endorsed by Dr. Spencer at a well-attended gathering in honor of the popular legislator at Albert’s Mandarin Gourmet in Huntington.

“I am proud to endorse Joe Dujmic for New York State Assembly in the 10th District. His will be a strong voice for Long Island’s hardworking taxpayers.” said Legislator Spencer.

Dujmic stated that he looks forward to working with Dr. Spencer and the rest of Huntington’s elected officials by “putting Long Island first” in Albany....| read more ››

Newsday: Bellone right to look forward


A mountainous budget deficit has been eating up vast amounts of his staff's time, but Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is not letting short-term budget woes keep him from thinking big and long-term. He needs to do both. His Connect Long Island outline of the way the county will go about economic development has a good core approach and a couple of innovative ideas. But the budget reality won't go away, and Bellone will have to make even tougher choices very soon -- and lean a little harder on legislators.| read more ››

Suffolk bill on employee health costs OKd

Bellone addresses County Legislature of Health Bill

"It's a good day for Suffolk County taxpayers," County Executive Steve Bellone said after the vote. "It's important to show we are leading by example . . . and we're not expecting any one group to shoulder the burden." But he warned that "time pressures" loomed and that the county's 2013 budget faced "hundreds of millions of dollars in deficits."| read more ››