LOCKPORT – The Niagara County Legislature will begin to take an increased interest in the county’s labor relations, as two committee chairmen said Tuesday that they want monthly closed-door updates for lawmakers on the contract talks with county unions.

The six unions are working under terms of contracts that ran out at the end of 2011. The county has spent more than $400,000 on legal fees in the past two years, as grievances and lawsuits have multiplied since the Legislature and County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz abolished annual “step increases” for most unionized employees as of Jan. 1, 2012.

Last September, the county declared an impasse with three of the unions: the Civil Service Employees Association, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the Deputy Sheriffs Association.

Two committee chairmen from Lockport, Anthony J. Nemi of the Administration Committee and W. Keith McNall of the Community Services Committee, have called for the executive session updates from Glatz and other members of the county negotiating team.

No active negotiations are going on, as some unions have said that they haven’t had a bargaining session with the county since last year. Others aren’t bargaining at all.

White will be paid at the annual rate of $92,901 as interim director.

Also Tuesday, the Legislature approved a three-year contract extension with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. to be the county’s official tourism promotion agency until May 31, 2017.

The contract requires the NTCC to pay up to $25,000 for consultants, to be chosen by the county with the NTCC’s input, to evaluate the agency’s performance since its creation in 2003.

Also Tuesday, the Legislature approved a $10.36 million, 15-year bond issue for a package of road, bridge and building work approved at its last meeting.

The Legislature also ratified the 2014-15 Niagara County Community College budget, which includes a tuition increase of $96 for full-year, full-time students, to $3,888.

The $50 million budget freezes the county’s contribution at $8.87 million.

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