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CSEA Pres. On Personnel Cuts
November 1, 2011 - Dunkirk OBSERVER
Posted by Nicholas L. Dean
Cuts to the county's work force are eliminations of actual people.
That was Rose Conti's message to the County Legislature during the public comment portion of last month's budget meeting.
Conti is the CSEA Unit 6300 president. Prior to the meeting, county employees and supporters of the County Home held a rally in the parking lot of the Gerace Office Building.
What follows is the full text of Conti's comments to the legislature:
ROSE CONTI CSEA Unit 6300 President
I do understand that the process that you go through is difficult. I know that it's tough to take a look at the money you have and try to figure out where to put it and what to do with it, but I want to know if you understand that these decisions are difficult on human beings.
They're not numbers in a book, they're not numbers on a piece of paper. These are human beings whose jobs your going to take away tonight, whose families are not going to have that income. Every layoff is not just a line on a piece of paper, it's a human being who has a family, who has children, who have invested in this county and now we're telling them: 'Gee, that's too bad.'
It is about money, but it's also about what we say we stand for. On one hand we say we want to take all kinds of money and invest in jobs and invest in all of this. And on the other hand we say: 'By the way, we want to throw a few away in the process.'
We want to take people who have dedicated themselves to serving the public in this county and we just want to tell them they're just not worth it anymore. And in the meantime, we want everyone else to figure out how to do the job they leave behind. As a union leader I'm often really surprised because something is an important job and it's paid this much, but then we get rid of it and anybody can do it.
These are real jobs, they're really going to go away tonight if you do this. They're not jobs that we will stand up and tell you we're saving you $30, $40, $50, $60 thousand dollars by eliminating a job here and then just creating a new one over there with a different title.
These are real jobs and real people, and they serve the public that you're supposed to serve. They serve them on the roads, they serve them in the clinics, they serve them here in this building, they serve them in Jamestown, they serve them in Dunkirk. They serve the public. They do the work that you decide has to be done. And yet you decide it's okay to have less of them to try to do it?
You know, it's really easy to sit and say: 'Oh, don't worry, we've got enough staff.'
Spend a few days with these people and see what they now have to do, see what regulations do, see what layoffs have done, see what vacant positions have done. A vacant position may not be a human, but there are a lot of humans behind that having to do the work that used to be done by it.
Spend some time and when my members call, don't tell them you don't need to talk to them. Don't tell them there's nothing you can do. Don't tell them that's nothing that you want talk to them about now. They elected you. They have a right to ask you questions. They have a right to get answers from you. That's what you're supposed to do for them because they are still taxpayers.
ROSE CONTI On The County Home
This afternoon I took a phone call from a lady who wanted to know if she could have a sign for her yard. And she told me about her family's medical history and told me that she knew that she would be destined to be in a nursing home long before she should have to.
She said to me: I am terrified that I will not be able to go to the County Home. I have spent my life watching every member of my family have to go to a home because of a hereditary problem. I have seen them all and it terrifies me to know that the County Home may be sold.
I want you to think about her as you progress through that process and think about how you're terrifying people. I'm not terrifying her. I'm not the one making that decision.
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CSEA Unit 6300 President Rose Conti addresses the County Legislature during its October budget meeting.