After union contracts limit budget cuts, council seeks spot at negotiation table

By By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A Utica City Councilman wants the council to have a say in union negotiations.

First District Councilman Frank Vescera, a democrat, said that since the council has to pass a city budget around the costly union contracts, the council should be in on negotiations from the beginning.

"The thing that this would take away is saying 'we had no power, we had no recourse,'" Vescera said. "This will give us some input so that six months down the road when this is going to affect us, we'll have already known about it. We won't be blindsided."

Vescera is contacting Mitchell Ford of the city's charter revision committee regarding this issue. Vescera said he'd like to see the issue on the ballot in November as a public referendum and let the voters decide if the council should be involved in union talks.

Vescera also wants the public to decide whether the council should have a say in the mayor's appointment of department heads and their salaries.

Utica Mayor David Roefaro has not yet returned our call regarding this issue.

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