Six former North Tonawanda police dispatchers won, but 18 retired Niagara Falls school administrators lost in rulings last week from the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.
The court ruled that the dispatchers must be paid with their full North Tonawanda seniority taken into account, not the reduced pay and benefits Niagara County and North Tonawanda agreed upon when the six joined the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office in 2012.
The retired members of the Non-Instructional Administrators and Supervisors Association in the Niagara Falls School District will have to accept a health insurance plan with reduced benefits, while they claimed they were entitled to the policy in effect when they retired.
In both cases, the Rochester-based appeals panel unanimously upheld rulings by local judges.
In 2012, the county and North Tonawanda signed an agreement in which the Sheriff’s Office dispatched calls to North Tonawanda officers. Six North Tonawanda civilian dispatchers accepted jobs with the county, which placed them on Step 3 of the six-step county dispatcher pay scale.
They sued to have their city seniority applied to the county pay scale, giving all of them raises of $5.95 per hour, from the $20.20 the county wanted to pay to $23.15 at the top of the scale. Most also were eligible for an additional 47 cents an hour in longevity pay, and an extra 10 vacation days per year.
Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III, an acting State Supreme Court justice for this case, ruled in February 2013 that the intermunicipal agreement violated state Civil Service Law and gave a complete victory to the North Tonawanda six. The Appellate Division agreed without comment.
The agreement called for North Tonawanda to pay 100 percent of the six dispatchers’ salary and benefits until the end of 2013, 75 percent in 2014, 50 percent in 2015 and 25 percent in 2016.
In the Falls school case, former administrators sued after the active members of the union accepted a scaled-back health insurance plan in 2011. In October 2012, State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. dismissed the retirees’ case. The Appellate Division said he gave the win to the correct side but said Kloch should have issued a detailed judgment instead of throwing out the case without comment.