At the yearly spring meeting of both Rye City Council and Rye City Schools Board of Education on Saturday, the joint bodies demanded relief from Albany for the costly mandates they bear.
By Sarah Varney
At the yearly spring meeting of both Rye City Council and Rye City Schools Board of Education on April 21, the joint bodies demanded relief from Albany for the costly mandates they bear. In a unanimously approved resolution, the City Council and the School Board asked its representatives in the State Assembly and Senate, and the Governor to do the following:
1. Repeal the “Triborough Amendment” of state labor law, which enables union workers to continue to receive increases even if their labor contract has expired.
2. Repeal the Wicks Law which forces public bodies to use multiple contractors rather than general contractors, thereby raising the cost and inefficiencies of public construction.
3. Cap pension contributions to the same growth rate as allowed under the tax cap.
Councilman Joe Sack and Board of Education Member Ed Fox strengthened the language of the resolution so that the call for action was directed not only to the Mandate Relief Council but also to the Governor and the Legislature.
The push to work out a plan to increase the safety of students walking to and from city schools came from a familiar figure. “For 16 years I’ve sat here at these meetings and for 16 years this issue has been on the agenda,” said Dr. Edward Shine, Superintendent of the Rye City Schools. Dr. Shine will retire June 30. “In the rhythm of the school year, there are so many large issues to solve it would be nice to have this one taken care of [next fall],” said Dr. Shine.
In addition to increasing the number of crosswalks and crossing guards, it was suggested that morning and afternoon police patrol routes be synchronized with school arrival and dismissal times. Several city officials expressed their doubts about the feasibility of such a practice due to reliability and flexibility.
However, Board of Education member Josh Nathan spoke up in favor of the idea. “I think we’re overcomplicating things. During the day, children have places they have to go. Couldn’t between now and the fall, arrange it so that the police officers’ routine is taken into account with school dismissal times? We’re talking about being present — just driving around. Fear of getting a ticket can be a deterrent,” Nathan said.
That’s easier said than done, noted City Manager Scott Pickup. “Enforcement has its downside. The community supports this idea in this room, but then when they get a ticket they’re not happy,” Pickup said.
At Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, president Laura Slack read the joint resolution aloud.