Onondaga County President Dan Vadala speaks to local reporters about the county’s spending proposals. Vadala and the Local 834 members say the county needs to better prioritize its spending.

SYRACUSE — CSEA Onondaga County Local members are making their voices heard and holding county leadership accountable for their proposed spending.

When Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon presented his budget proposal to the legislature, it included two projects — an aquarium and a soccer complex — totaling well over $100 million.

The county’s reserve fund would be tapped to help pay for the aquarium, and a private company would be used to run the facility.

Just last year, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was proposed to use the reserve fund to hire more workers for the county’s Department of Children and Family Services. That proposal was rejected.

It was also proposed to use the reserve fund to protect county worker jobs and prevent layoffs. That proposal was also rejected.

Every department is facing understaffing issues due to retirements, as well as recruitment and retention issues. Wages have been stagnant, and workers are being forced to do more with fewer resources.

“Our members have served this community on the front lines throughout this pandemic and have done an amazing job,” Onondaga County President Dan Vadala said. “They’ve done so with fewer staff and fewer resources, but they shouldn’t have to any longer.”

While our union generally supports ideas to bring more revenue to our communities, the essential public services that CSEA members provide are being relied on more than ever.

With a historic amount of federal aid and a brighter financial outlook, CSEA Onondaga County Local leaders note that the county needs to invest in its employees that provide these vital public services.

“Throughout the pandemic we asked that the county reserve fund be utilizes to help departments where staffing levels were dangerously low,” Vadala said. “We were consistently reminded of how important it was to keep the fund intact. This budget and the spending of federal dollars must prioritize county services.”

— Nicholas Newcomb


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