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Letter to Editor: Treat CSEA Members Equitably

Union's communications specialist decries demotions.


To the Editor:

Long Beach City Manager Jack Schirnman and the City Council suddenly and inexplicably demoted 25 CSEA members to lower pay grades in an ostensible case of union animus.

This dubious development victimized hard-working public servants who had earned promotions last year for serving the city with loyalty, dedication and going above and beyond the call of duty. They are the same people that dispatch 911 calls, enforce parking and safety, and pick up your garbage in all kinds of weather. They preserve the beaches, boardwalks, bathrooms and parks, make sure residents have clean and safe drinking water and maintain all water and sewer services. They care for the children, elderly and run all sports programs and city events for residents. They repair and maintain all vehicles, fire hydrants and streets. They plow the streets when it snows.

A larger-than-life example of their contributions to quality of life in Long Beach came last summer when many of them expertly operated heavy machinery to create large barriers of sand all along the ocean and bay beaches in an attempt to prevent surging walls of water from flooding the streets in the days before Hurricane Irene.

Clean-up operations began in earnest when the storm passed and the highway department cleared debris from local streets while the sanitation department picked up refuse deposited near homes and parks. Members of the beach crew replaced the large wooden posts that support the boardwalk that were broken or loosened by exposure to the pounding surf and salt water. All CSEA members worked all aspects of the clean up to ease the pain after Hurricane Irene to get the city back up in running in record time. We pulled off the impossible and we were able to still hold a world wide surfing event less than a week later.

CSEA members play a tangible role in making Long Beach among the most desirable communities to live on Long Island. We are not just a number and name on a piece of paper, but residents and taxpayers, too. We are CSEA, the backbone of the city, and all we ask is to be treated equitably and respectfully in return.

Rich Impagliazzo
Communications Specialist
CSEA Long Island Region

Gino February 25, 2012 at 11:35 PM
In my line of work we stand behind our word. The city gave it's word to these people that they received raises. Now the City has gone back on it's word which is wrong. These people might have purchased something recently in the new reality of their paycheck. To take that way is wrong. I will say that it might not have been the most prudent thing to do, but they probably had no clue that the city's finances were in such bad shape. I don't see any individuals complaining; what I do see is a union trying to stick up for itself so it gets treated fairly. I understand the whole fiscal crisis thing, but I for one believe in the ideal of standing behind my word. The city gave it's word and now has gone back on it. That is the bottom line, and I respectfully disagree with anyone who see's this differently.
Jay Gusler February 26, 2012 at 01:47 AM
@Gino, I admire and agree with your stance regarding the sanctity of one's word, but I don't think it's applicable here. If the Coalition had hung on, they'd undoubtedly be recalling the very same promotions and grade changes that are involved here. Assuming this to be so, that would represent the City going back on its word. Instead, what we have here is new tenants in City Hall who have finally gotten a look at the books and found that there are many extravagances that the City simply cannot afford. These are not the people that made these "promises", that was the last batch of crooks. Many of the disputed changes were undertaken after the election, and with the full knowledge of the Coalition government that the financial cupboard was bare. They said the hell with the new administration and went ahead with these changes anyway. I can still hear Sofield flippantly stating that figuring out how to pay the City's workforce was going to be a problem for the next administration to figure out. So, while I hate to see the worker's suffer, much of this was the result of petty political gamesmanship by the outgoing Coalition government in its campaign to stick-it to the new guys. Sad, but true.
Gino February 26, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Fair enough Mr. Gusler, but I would have to disagree. I don't have to tell a person of your intellect that assuming is not a good way to go about life. You know what they say about the idea of to assume; it makes an ass out of u and me! We really don't have any clue as to how the coalition would have tried to solve our financial problem. What I do agree with is the idea that the city workforce is used as pawns in the political gamesmanship of controlling this city. Sad that the worker has to feel the brunt of it; sad but true.
Mike Torres February 29, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Bill keep it up.You are right on point!!!!! One thing everybody is missing is that I think CIVIL SERVANTS pay real estate taxes or do they shuttle them in from CANADA !! THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND PUBLIC SECTOR SHOULD NOT BE AT EACH OTHER THROATS THOUGH,WE SHOULD STAND TOGETHER AGAINST POLITICIANS AND THESE BIG CEO'S THAT SHIP JOBS OVERSEAS AND GET RID OF AMERICAN WORKERS PUBLIC OR PRIVATE. WE ALL HAVE FAMILIES AND WE ARE ALL AMERICANS AND ALL OF US SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE CARE OF OUR FAMILIES !!!!!!!!
Candygram for Mongo February 29, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Pipe down and pay up Torres

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