Westchester County
New York

Act
ACT-2012-99

I.1 IMA-Prisoner Transportation-Peekskill

Information

Department:County ExecutiveSponsors:County Executive
Category:IMAs

Body

An ACT authorizing the County to enter into an Inter-municipal Agreement with the City of Peekskill in order to provide reimbursement for prisoner transportation to the Westchester County Jail.

Meeting History

May 21, 2012 7:00 PM Video Board of Legislators Regular Meeting

On motion of Mr. Harckham the above item was received, filed and referred to the Committees on Budget & Appropriations and Public Safety and Security.

RESULT:REFERRED TO COMMITTEE
May 29, 2012 9:00 AM Video Public Safety Committee Meeting

Ms. Perez announced that we would discuss the IMA's for Yonkers and Peekskill together. Deputy Commissioner Mazzuca and Deputy Warden Vollmer of the Department of Correction explained both IMA's.

For Peekskill, this IMA will be for time spent transporting prisoners to the Westchester County Jail. They are reimbursed for transport time only up to a maximum of 5 hours a day.

Warden Vollmer noted that if we were to take that burden ourselves we would have to hire at least 2 additional officers, do maintenance and upkeep on vehicles etc. It is more beneficial for us to pay them to do the transports.

Yonkers is paid a flat rate because if we paid Yonkers per hour as we do with Peekskill, it would cost much more.

Mr. Harckham asked if there are any differences between the previous IMA's and the current one. Mr. Vollmer replied that the only change is that Peekskill and Yonkers have both agreed to transport prisoners arrested by County police, which would free up our officers to do other work.

RESULT:PENDINGNext: 6/4/2012 9:00 AM
Jun 4, 2012 9:00 AM Video Public Safety Committee Meeting

Mr. Harckham stated that we are again discussing the IMA's for Peekskill and Yonkers with Deputy Commissioner of Correction Mazzuca and Warden Vollmer and noted that there is a difference between the current legislation and the previous legislation. Warden Vollmer explained that the change in the legislation was that the clause precluding municipal police from transporting prisoners arrested by County Police would now be omitted.

Warden Vollmer said that the origin of the original clause was because the municipalities did not want to transport prisoners arrested by County Police. They have now changed their minds because the number of prisoners arrested by County Police is low.

Mr. Hagan, PBA President, Westchester County Police, explained that a few years ago there had been an issue with the US Marshalls transporting prisoners and the County Police had filed a PERB charge which was decided in favor of the County Police. There is no difference here except that they are substituting the Yonkers and Peekskill police for the US Marshalls.

Warden Vollmer said that there is nothing in the two contracts that specifically states that they are going to transport County arrests. It just removes that language.

Mr. Harckham said that these two items definitely need to go to Budget to delve into the legal, financial and labor issues and suggested that the recommendation of the Committee should be to hold these items and have a joint meeting with budget to discuss these issues.

RESULT:PENDING
Jun 11, 2012 9:00 AM Video Public Safety Committee Meeting

Ms. Perez introduced the continuing discussion of the IMA's with Yonkers and Peekskill for the transport of prisoners. Deputy Commissioner Mazzuca of the Dept. Of Corrections, Mr. Sullivan of the County Attorney's Office and Mr. Malandrino representing the PBA joined the discussion.

Some issues were brought up last week concerning changes in the contracts affecting how Public Safety officers' arrests were to be transported to the County jail. Mr. Mazzuca noted that the new contracts had the clause removed that required Public Safety Officers to transport their own prisoners.

The department feels this has no relation to the PERB decision concerning air marshalls tranporting prisoners and noted that it is the Department of Correction's responsibility to transport prisoners to the jail.

Mr. Malandrino stated that the police officers believe that part of their job is being taken away. They used to have a transport unit, then that was cut and overtime was used; now even that is too much. The PBA's attorney's couldn't be here, but are sending a legal opinion.

Mr. Harckham asked what the County Attorney's opinion is.

At this point, 10:00am, Mr. Gelfarb made a motion to go into executive session which was seconded by Mr. Harckham.

At 10:18am the committee came out of executive session and Ms. Perez announced that they were going to meet again next week and invite the union to come and bring its attorneys and also have the law department and the Corrections department.

RESULT:PENDINGNext: 6/18/2012 9:00 AM
Jun 18, 2012 9:00 AM Video Public Safety Committee Meeting

Ms. Perez invited Deputy Commissioner Mazzuca of the Department of Correction, Fred Sullivan, County Attorney's Office and Mike Hagan and John Clarke of the PBA to discuss the issue.

Mr. Hagan stated that the County Police does transport for prisoners they arrest. They have a PERB decision that says that unit work for the County Police should remain with the County Police. The Department of Corrections wants to take that away. Mr. Grant said that the department cannot enter into an agreement that takes work away from the Public Safety officers. That would trigger a responsibility on the part of the union to take action. There has been some indication that some work duties have been shifted already without the knowledge of the Public Safety officers.

Mr. Grant noted, that the question becomes: was this work historically done by the Public Safety Officers? Is Correction taking away work that was always done by the unit? It's pretty clear that it was always done by our units.

Mr. Sullivan replied that the actually language did not appear in the contracts until 2010. The issue is: are there discernible boundaries in the transportation of the inmates? For example, only County Police are to transport County Police prisoners. He noted that the County Attorney is working on an opinion and it should be available shortly.

There was a discussion concerning the reduction in numbers of Public Safety Officers in the County and particularly in the parks as noted by Leg. Ryan.

Ms. Perez suggested that while they waited for the opinion, the language in the legislation should be changed to include the language that was in the 2010 legislation. The committee members agreed.

RESULT:PENDINGNext: 6/25/2012 9:00 AM
Jun 25, 2012 9:00 AM Video Public Safety Committee Meeting

Chair Perez asked Commissioner Cheverko of the Department of Correction, Commissioner Longworth of the Department of Public Safety and Mike Hagan, President of the PBA to began the discussion. She noted that the IMA's have been amended to put back the language from the 2010 legislation which would allow only County Police to transport County prisoners.

Commissioner Cheverko stated that when they negotiated the new contracts with Peekskill and Yonkers, they took out the language that allowed only County Police to transport County prisoners. This was done in order to provide the opportunity, going forward, to allow Yonkers and Peekskill to transport all prisoners.

Mr. Burrows noted that they have heard from Union members that this was part of a lawsuit that was brought to PERB in the past and that the decision was against the County. He asked if there was other information which would explain why this would now be permissable.

Comm. Longworth stated that he believed the PERB decision did not apply in this case. Corrections has the responsibility for transporting prisoners and under NYS Law it cannot be delegated. They also believe the case was brought in the wrong venue and if brought in the correct venue, the County would have prevailed.

The Commissioner explained that the department was looking for economies and better management and felt that having municipal police transfer county police prisoners was one way to accomplish that.

Mr. Harckham noted that the Committee had heard from the union's lawyers last week with a very different point of view and is concerned about a possible action against the County.

Mr. Hagan stated that the County Public Safety Officers were already spread too thin and that this was another way of trying to cut their numbers even further by taking away more of the responsibilities of Public Safety Officers and giving them to others.

Mr. Burrows and Mr. Gelfarb both asked for an opinion by the County Attorney and asked the Chair to request that he be present at the next meeting.

RESULT:PENDINGNext: 7/2/2012 9:00 AM
Jul 2, 2012 9:00 AM Video Public Safety Committee Meeting

Ms. Perez began the discussion by noting that this has been a continuing discussion and today we will hear from the Counsel of the PBA and the County Attorney.

Mr. Burrows asked that the Counsel from the PBA, John Grant explain the union's position.

Mr. Grant explained that this is work that has historically been done by members of our unit, which makes it unit work and therefore, absent negotiation and an agreement to surrender that work as part of an overall collective bargaining agreement, it can't be unilaterally taken away. A PERB decision has already been rendered relating to an issue that was basically the same as we see here. The current type of situation, we view as an identical type of situation, even though it involves prisoner transport in a somewhat different manner because it involves local transports. The issues are identical and we think the outcome will be identical. He stated that the union believes that this issue is something that must be bargained for.

Mr. Meehan replied that the collective bargaining agreement already contains a provision, Section 1.6 Maintenance of Standards, where this issue has already been agreed upon and, under the law, that is something that is already part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and therefore the grievance procedure should be followed. The PERB decision doesn't apply because there is already an agreement in place.

Mr. Grant noted that some of these issues are now being submitted to the interest arbitration panel.

Mr. Jenkins stated that these are IMA's that are currently in place and that we have been doing this for years with the specific language in it. We need to have them in place to transport prisoners. Therefore, until these outstanding issues are resolved, we should retain the status quo and move these items.

On motion of Legislator Jenkins and seconded by Legislator Harckham this item was approved with a vote of 5 to 0.

RESULT:SIGNED BY COMMITTEE
Jul 9, 2012 10:00 AM Video Budget & Appropriations Committee Meeting

This has gone through some language changes and it is now back to the original language that appeared in the IMA’s. “…the County is required at its own expense to transport prisoners between local municipalities and the Westchester County Jail…”. Legislator Harckham explained that originally this was taken out because the administration thought it would be more efficient. The PBA objected and it appeared that this would end up in litigation, it was put back in. It is part of the collective bargaining and if this has to be changed in the future, it will be. On the motion of Legislator Spreckman, seconded by Legislator Shimsky, the motion was passed by a vote of 7-0 ((Myers, Harckham, Borgia, Shimsky, Spreckman. Legislators Smith and Marcotte signed this without prejudice). This had previously been signed out of the Committee on Public Safety.

RESULT:SIGNED BY COMMITTEE
Aug 6, 2012 10:00 AM Video Board of Legislators Regular Meeting

Submitted by COMMITTEES ON BUDGET & APPROPRIATIONS AND PUBLIC SAFETY & SECURITY.

Ms. Myers and Ms. Perez presented the report and Act and moved that the report be received, filed and approved and the Act adopted, which motion was carried by the following vote.

RESULT:ADOPTED [UNANIMOUS]
AYES:James Maisano, Catherine Borgia, Gordon A. Burrows, David B. Gelfarb, Michael Kaplowitz, Sheila Marcotte, Judith Myers, Virginia Perez, William J. Ryan, Mary Jane Shimsky, Michael J. Smith, Bernice Spreckman, John G. Testa, Alfreda Williams, Lyndon Williams, Kenneth W. Jenkins
ABSENT:Peter Harckham