Geddes Highway Department cries foul

Sixteen of the 20 Geddes Town Highway Department employees were present Tuesday night at the regular Geddes Town Board meeting to express opposition to the board's intent to abolish a position within the department.

Immediately following the board's authorization of long-time highway employee Dennis Armani's retirement, the board moved to abolish the position Armani had held for more than 10 years.

Highway employee and USWA Local 14532 Unit President Joseph A. Longo spoke on behalf of the other 15 highway employees at the meeting, urging the board not to abolish the position.

"We all should keep in mind that less than two years ago, two positions were abolished from our departments after the former superintendent retired," Longo told the board.

The board entered executive session to discuss the resolution after hearing from Longo.

"They want us to do more with less people," said highway employee Joseph A. Longo while the board was in executive session. He added that two years ago, the town had abolished two positions within the department in a similar fashion but highway employees were never notified. They had since been working with two fewer men, Longo said, but were unaware for a long time that those positions were not going to be filled.

Upon their return, the town board passed the resolution with a 5-2 vote and abolished the department position.

Longo said he and other highway employees were surprised with the vote, as one councilor who had recently garnered the union endorsement voted to abolish the position.

Several other highway employees said the move left the department with only 19 staff members and around 10 years ago, the department had 28 full-time employees.

Such a decrease in manpower is bound to affect the efficiency of the department, the men maintained.

Those services include debris removal, road repair and snowplowing.

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