Joint Legislative Public Hearing on 2017-2018 Executive Budget Proposal: Topic "Workforce Development" - Testimonies

Hearing Notice Event:
https://www.nysenate.gov/calendar/public-hearings/january-25-2017/joint-legislative-public-hearing-2017-2018-executive-budget

Archived Video:
https://youtu.be/MTMiPlzzgYU

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TRANSCRIPT

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                                                                   1

 1  BEFORE THE NEW YORK STATE SENATE FINANCE
    AND ASSEMBLY WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEES
 2  ----------------------------------------------------

 3          JOINT LEGISLATIVE HEARING

 4             In the Matter of the
          2017-2018 EXECUTIVE BUDGET ON
 5            WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT 
    
 6  ----------------------------------------------------

 7  
                             Hearing Room B
 8                           Legislative Office Building
                             Albany, New York
 9  
                             January 25, 2017
10                           10:08 a.m.
    
11  
    
12  PRESIDING:

13           Senator Catharine M. Young
             Chair, Senate Finance Committee
14  
             Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr. 
15           Chair, Assembly Ways & Means Committee
    
16  
    PRESENT:
17
             Assemblyman Robert Oaks
18           Assembly Ways & Means Committee (RM)
    
19           Senator Diane Savino 
             Vice Chair, Senate Finance Committee
20  
             Assemblyman Peter J. Abbate, Jr. 
21           Chair, Assembly Committee on 
              Governmental Employees
22  
             Assemblyman Michael Cusick
23  
             Assemblyman Harry B. Bronson
24  

                                                                  2

 1  2017-2018 Executive Budget
    Workforce Development
 2  1-25-17
    
 3  PRESENT:  (Continued)
    
 4           Senator Phil M. Boyle
    
 5           Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer
    
 6           Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy
    
 7           Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis
    
 8           Assemblyman Phil Steck
    
 9           Senator Leroy Comrie
    
10           Assemblyman David I. Weprin
    
11           Assemblyman Michael G. DenDekker
    
12           Assemblywoman Nily Rozic
    
13           Senator Marisol Alcantara
    
14           Assemblyman William Colton
    
15           Assemblywoman Diana C. Richardson
    
16           Assemblyman FÈlix Ortiz
    
17           Assemblyman Nick Perry
    
18           Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow
    
19  
    
20

21

22

23

24

                                                                  3

 1  2017-2018 Executive Budget
    Workforce Development
 2  1-25-17
    
 3                   LIST OF SPEAKERS
    
 4                                     STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
    
 5  Lola Brabham 
    Executive Deputy Commissioner
 6  NYS Department of 
     Civil Service                           6         12
 7  
    Michael N. Volforte 
 8  Interim Director
    NYS Governor's Office of 
 9   Employee Relations (GOER)              61         65
    
10  Fran Turner
    Director, Legislative & 
11   Political Action Dept.
    Civil Service Employees
12   Association (CSEA)                     97        107
    
13  Greg Amorosi 
    Legislative Director
14  Scott Lorey
    Political Organizer 
15  Nikki Brate
    Vice President
16  NYS Public Employees
     Federation (PEF)                      123        137
17  
    Barbara Zaron
18  President
    Joseph Sano
19  Executive Director
    NYS Organization of
20   Management/Confidential
     Employees (OMCE)                      165       
21  
    Jack McPadden 
22  President
    Edward Farrell
23  Executive Director 
    Retired Public Employees
24   Association                           176
    

                                                                  4

 1  2017-2018 Executive Budget
    Workforce Development
 2  1-25-17
    
 3                 LIST OF SPEAKERS, Continued 
    
 4                                    STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
    
 5  Bruce Hamm
    Director, Business Engagement 
 6  Manufacturers Association
     of Central New York                  184       190
 7  
    Melinda Mack 
 8  Executive Director 
    New York Association of 
 9   Training and Employment 
     Professionals                        200       209
10  
    David Ng 
11  Government and External 
     Relations Manager
12  Human Services Council                215       219
    
13  Kevin Stump
    Northeast Director
14  Young Invincibles                     227
    
15  

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

                                                                  5

 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Good morning, 

 2          everyone.  I'm Senator Catharine Young, and 

 3          I'm chair of the Senate Standing Committee on 

 4          Finance.  And we're here today on workforce 

 5          development.  

 6                 Pursuant to the State Constitution and 

 7          Legislative Law, the fiscal committees of the 

 8          State Legislature are authorized to hold 

 9          hearings on the Executive Budget proposal.  

10          Today's hearings will be limited to a 

11          discussion of the Governor's recommendations 

12          as they relate to the state workforce.  

13          Following each presentation, there will be 

14          some time allowed for questions from the 

15          chairs of fiscal committees and other 

16          legislators.  

17                 I would first like to say thank you to 

18          my colleague Chairman Denny Farrell, from 

19          Ways and Means in the Assembly.  And I think 

20          Assemblyman Farrell would like to introduce 

21          some of the members who are here today.  

22                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Yes, I'd be glad 

23          to.  We've been joined on our side by 

24          Assemblyman Abbate, Assemblywoman Mayer, 

                                                                  6

 1          Assemblyman Cusick, and Assemblyman Harry 

 2          Bronson.  

 3                 And Mr. Oaks?  

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Yes, we've also 

 5          been joined by Assemblywoman Malliotakis.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  So 

 7          you're all set, Chairman?  

 8                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Yes, we are.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  I would 

10          first like to welcome Lola Brabham -- did I 

11          do that okay?

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Yes, 

13          thank you.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, executive 

15          deputy commissioner of the Department of 

16          Civil Service.  

17                 And just so everyone knows, following 

18          Ms. Brabham will be Michael Volforte, interim 

19          director of the Governor's Office of Employee 

20          Relations, or GOER.

21                 So welcome today, and we look forward 

22          to your testimony.  

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Okay, 

24          thank you.  Good morning, Chairwoman Young, 

                                                                  7

 1          Chairman Farrell and distinguished members of 

 2          the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and 

 3          Means Committees.  My name is Lola Brabham, 

 4          and I'm the acting commissioner for the 

 5          Department of Civil Service.  Thank you for 

 6          the opportunity to appear before you today to 

 7          comment on the Governor's 2017-2018 budget as 

 8          it relates to the Department of Civil 

 9          Service.  

10                 In 2016, the department made 

11          substantial progress in furthering the 

12          Governor's initiatives to transform New York 

13          State government.  With the Division of 

14          Budget and the Governor's Office of Employee 

15          Relations, the department is fully engaged in 

16          civil service reforms that modernize the 

17          state's approach to meeting workforce needs.  

18          These reform efforts have already resulted in 

19          a number of essential improvements to 

20          workforce mobility, testing, recruitment and 

21          retention, among other areas.  

22                 A new Workforce Analytics tool now 

23          provides state agencies with real-time 

24          enhanced data to support workforce and 

                                                                  8

 1          succession planning, and we're adding 

 2          attrition information and additional 

 3          data-reporting capabilities in the coming 

 4          year.  A Succession and Workforce Planning 

 5          Guide was also rolled out to state agencies 

 6          in 2016 to employ a systematic approach for 

 7          identifying and addressing the gaps between 

 8          the workforce of today and the needs of 

 9          tomorrow.  

10                 The department has made great strides 

11          to modernize the civil service title 

12          structure and improve the mobility of the 

13          state workforce by reducing and consolidating 

14          the number of pay grades and job 

15          classifications.  In June of 2016, the 

16          department undertook one of the largest title 

17          restructurings in decades by consolidating 67 

18          investigator titles into 12, to better 

19          reflect the duties and responsibilities of 

20          these workers.  

21                 In the coming months, the department 

22          will finalize additional reviews expected to 

23          consolidate 300 titles.  These efforts 

24          increase consistency and equity among 

                                                                  9

 1          positions and opportunities for current 

 2          employee mobility throughout the state 

 3          workforce.  

 4                 State agencies and local governments 

 5          rely on the department for consistent and 

 6          timely civil service examinations to ensure 

 7          that they can meet their staffing needs and 

 8          effectively perform core functions.  Over the 

 9          past year, the department developed and 

10          administered more than 5,600 examinations, 

11          testing nearly 165,000 candidates for state 

12          and local government jobs.  

13                 To deliver examination services more 

14          quickly and efficiently, the department is 

15          streamlining its examination programs in 

16          preparation for the use of online test 

17          delivery and has issued an RFP for a new test 

18          development system that will provide the 

19          infrastructure to improve examination 

20          services, maximize efficiencies, and better 

21          meet the hiring needs of state and local 

22          agencies.  

23                 Based on new techniques we developed 

24          with the Office for People with Developmental 

                                                                  10

 1          Disabilities and other agencies to expedite 

 2          hiring into high-priority jobs, the 

 3          department is now able to offer quicker and 

 4          more geographically convenient medical and 

 5          psychological examinations.  Moving forward, 

 6          the department will continue to explore 

 7          options to enhance our network of medical 

 8          sites and personnel, with the goal of 

 9          offering more cost-effective medical 

10          examination services throughout the state.  

11                 In March of 2016, Governor Cuomo 

12          created the Advisory Council on Diversity and 

13          Inclusion to further the state's efforts to 

14          build and sustain a workforce that is most 

15          reflective of the many unique faces, voices, 

16          backgrounds and ideas of those we serve.  The 

17          department is working closely with the 

18          council, including the state's chief 

19          diversity officer, and stakeholders in 

20          support of this effort.  

21                 Over the past year, the department 

22          participated in more than 215 outreach and 

23          recruitment events, connecting with 12,500 

24          job seekers at events organized for veterans, 

                                                                  11

 1          individuals with disabilities, and other 

 2          diverse populations at colleges, community 

 3          organizations, and job fairs.  These outreach 

 4          efforts complement the more targeted 

 5          recruitment efforts of state agencies seeking 

 6          specific needs and skill sets, and strengthen 

 7          diversity and inclusion in the state 

 8          government workforce.  

 9                 The New York State Health Insurance 

10          Program covers more than 1.2 million state 

11          and local government employees, retirees, and 

12          their dependents, and is one of the largest 

13          public employer health insurance programs in 

14          the nation.  Following the Governor's call 

15          for fiscal discipline, the department has 

16          undertaken a number of initiatives to ensure 

17          the integrity and cost-effectiveness of 

18          NYSHIP.  

19                 The department is also working with 

20          the Department of Health to align the 

21          healthcare purchasing strategies of the 

22          New York State Medicaid Program and NYSHIP. 

23          These efforts align with the department's 

24          goal of improving care and health while 

                                                                  12

 1          lowering costs.  

 2                 The initiatives that I've highlighted 

 3          today reflect Governor Cuomo's ongoing 

 4          commitment to addressing the state's 

 5          strategic workforce needs by delivering 

 6          superior customer service to state agencies 

 7          and local jurisdictions, promoting workforce 

 8          diversity, and providing efficiently managed 

 9          and cost-effective programs.  

10                 Thank you for the opportunity to 

11          appear before you today, and I'm happy to 

12          answer any questions that the committee 

13          members may have at this time.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

15          Ms. Brabham, for that testimony.  

16                 And I'd like to announce that our vice 

17          chair of Finance in the Senate, Senator Diane 

18          Savino, has joined us, and also Senator Phil 

19          Boyle.  So welcome to you.

20                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  We've been joined 

21          by Assemblywoman Rozic, Assemblyman Steck, 

22          Assemblyman Michael DenDekker, and 

23          Assemblyman Weprin.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, so I did have 

                                                                  13

 1          a few questions.  

 2                 As you know, the minimum wage has been 

 3          raised in New York State.  And in a question, 

 4          do you have projections of what the impact of 

 5          the minimum wage increase will be to the 

 6          state workforce as it's phased in over the 

 7          next several years?

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Yes.  

 9          When it's fully implemented, we expect that 

10          it will impact approximately 10,000 state 

11          employees.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  And what are 

13          your projections as to what the minimum wage 

14          increase to $15 per hour will cost the state 

15          in payments to not-for-profit providers in 

16          healthcare, human services, and direct care 

17          workers?  

18                 Sorry, I'm a little under the weather 

19          today.

20                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  That's 

21          okay.  

22                 Senator, I don't have the estimates of 

23          what it might cost not-for-profit agencies --

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  No, I'm sorry, I 

                                                                  14

 1          shouldn't have asked that.  I'm sorry, I'm a 

 2          little out of it.

 3                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  That's 

 4          okay.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  But -- I'm sorry, 

 6          I'll go on to the next question.  What 

 7          agencies and job titles will most be affected 

 8          by the cost of the minimum wage rollout?

 9                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Which 

10          agencies?  

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Yeah.  Like state 

12          agencies.

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I 

14          think the better way to look at it is what 

15          grade levels.  And so we'd be looking at, you 

16          know, Grade 6 positions, potentially.  

17                 I think it's important to say, though, 

18          that I think essentially all of the salaried 

19          positions that we currently have right now 

20          are currently making over the minimum wage.  

21          But for those employees that will experience 

22          an increase, it would be more along the lines 

23          of Grade 6 employees.  And those might be 

24          positions like direct care workers, cooks, 

                                                                  15

 1          cafeteria workers.  So some of the 

 2          lower-graded positions.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Do you think that 

 4          the minimum wage increase will result in any 

 5          downsizing of the state workforce?

 6                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  No, we 

 7          don't anticipate that at all.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  You don't, okay.  

 9          Good.  That's great.  

10                 I think that's all I have for now.  

11          I'll turn it over to the Assembly.

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Thank 

13          you, Senator.  

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

15          much.  

16                 Assemblyman Abbate. 

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  I just have one 

18          question --

19                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Your microphone.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  Now it's on, 

21          yeah.  

22                 In your testimony, you said:  

23          "Following the Governor's call for fiscal 

24          discipline, the department has undertaken a 

                                                                  16

 1          number of initiatives to ensure, you know, 

 2          the cost-effectiveness of NYSHIP."  Could you 

 3          go over one or two of them?

 4                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I'm 

 5          sorry, could you -- I can't hear all of what 

 6          you're saying.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  Yeah.  "Following 

 8          the Governor's call for fiscal discipline," 

 9          you said, "the department has undertaken a 

10          number of initiatives to ensure the integrity 

11          and cost-effectiveness of NYSHIP."  Could you 

12          elaborate on some of the things you've done?  

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Yes.  

14          I mean, specifically with regard to the 

15          NYSHIP program, we have contractual 

16          agreements in place that require our vendors 

17          to audit payments, to do data matching to 

18          ensure that we're paying for services that we 

19          should be paying, for services that have 

20          actually been rendered.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  Haven't we been 

22          doing that?

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  We 

24          have been doing that.  We continue to do 

                                                                  17

 1          that.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  Okay.  But it 

 3          says, you know following the Governor's call.  

 4          I thought we did something new.

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  The 

 6          Governor's been calling for that for a while 

 7          now, and so we continue our efforts around 

 8          that.  And we continuously look for ways to 

 9          improve doing that.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  So it's nothing 

11          new.  Okay, thank you.

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  You're 

13          welcome.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Savino.

15                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.  Thank 

16          you, Senator Young.  

17                 I'm happy to see in your testimony 

18          that you guys have finally taken on an issue 

19          that I've been advocating for for years now, 

20          succession planning.

21                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Yes.

22                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Critically important 

23          to the state workforce, so -- I think I read 

24          a report yesterday that the state workforce 

                                                                  18

 1          is at the lowest level it's been in 30 years.  

 2          Because of, I'm assuming, attrition, and 

 3          we've just had a freeze on hiring.  And so, 

 4          you know, I've always said we're about one 

 5          retirement away from a severe brain drain in 

 6          the workforce, so succession planning is 

 7          critically important on that level.  So I'm 

 8          just happy to see that we're finally focusing 

 9          on it.  

10                 But I want to turn a bit back to the 

11          question that Assemblyman Abbate brought up 

12          about this new plan of retiree health 

13          insurance premiums, just so I'm sure I 

14          understand it.

15                 So right now, currently employees who 

16          retire, whether they retire with 30 years of 

17          service or 10 years of service, they pay the 

18          same rate towards their retirement benefits; 

19          correct?

20                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  We pay 

21          the same rate towards their retirement, yes.

22                 SENATOR SAVINO:  It's the same 

23          contribution; right?

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  That's 

                                                                  19

 1          correct.

 2                 SENATOR SAVINO:  So you're currently 

 3          proposing that there be a differential rate 

 4          paid by the retirees?

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Yes, 

 6          that there be a graduated rate based on years 

 7          of service.

 8                 SENATOR SAVINO:  And what would that 

 9          be?  Can you give us an example of that?

10                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  So, 

11          for example, for employees who retire at 

12          Salary Grade 10 or higher, under this 

13          proposal, the state would contribute 

14          50 percent.  But for employees who -- and for 

15          every year that you work beyond the 10 years, 

16          then the contribution rate would increase by 

17          2 percent, going all the way up to the 

18          30-year retirement.

19                 SENATOR SAVINO:  And have these 

20          potential changes been discussed with any of 

21          the bargaining units, any of the 

22          representatives of the bargaining units?

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Well, 

24          I'm certain that they will be discussed.  I 

                                                                  20

 1          think, you know, what discussions have taken 

 2          place would be with the Governor's Office of 

 3          Employee Relations.  And I'm sure that 

 4          Michael Volforte can provide more information 

 5          on that.

 6                 SENATOR SAVINO:  And I ask that 

 7          because I know in the Governor's briefing 

 8          book he makes reference to the fact that in 

 9          the recently negotiated bargaining agreement 

10          with NYSCOPBA, there are changes to the 

11          health insurance plan going forward that were 

12          negotiated between them.  So I'm just curious 

13          why we wouldn't seek those same types of 

14          changes at the bargaining table with the 

15          other affected employee represented groups, 

16          so that you get their input on this, as 

17          opposed to just assuming that they're going 

18          to buy into it.  

19                 Because I have a feeling they're going 

20          to have a different sort of opinion about 

21          this.

22                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Right.  

23          Understood.  And, you know, as I said, that 

24          collective bargaining and employee relations 

                                                                  21

 1          is really within the purview of GOER, and I'm 

 2          sure that they can offer more detail in terms 

 3          of the bargaining strategy.

 4                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Quickly, I notice 

 5          that there are some recommendations for 

 6          hiring in some agencies.  You may or may not 

 7          be able to answer those questions, I'm not 

 8          sure.  Even though it seems like the head 

 9          count in the agency is going to remain 

10          stable, we're still recommending hiring in 

11          certain places.  Is that because there's been 

12          attrition and we're backfilling, or are they 

13          new positions that are being created?  

14                 For instance, in the Department of Tax 

15          and Finance, they're talking about hiring 300 

16          FTEs in this year's budget.  Is it due to 

17          attrition in Tax and Finance where we're 

18          backfilling, or are these new positions that 

19          have been created?

20                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Well, 

21          I can't really speak to the why of the Tax 

22          Department's hiring and their management 

23          decisions.  But I can tell you, as employees 

24          attrit from the workforce, we are backfilling 

                                                                  22

 1          those positions.  In fact, in 2016 we hired 

 2          over 12,000 people, and that was 2,000 more 

 3          than we hired in 2015.  So we are doing that.

 4                 And with regard to the attrition rate, 

 5          I think recent information released by the 

 6          Division of Budget shows a net decrease of 

 7          136 positions.  And so what that says to me 

 8          is that our workforce is really remaining 

 9          stable.  In fact, over the last five years I 

10          think that there's been a reduction of 1 

11          percent or less, which really represents 

12          about one-tenth of 1 percent of the total 

13          state workforce.  So the workforce is stable.

14                 SENATOR SAVINO:  And finally, there's 

15          a plan in the bill to authorize up to 250 IT 

16          term appointments for up to 60 months --

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Yes.

18                 SENATOR SAVINO:  -- without holding an 

19          initial civil service test.  But at some 

20          point, there would be a civil service test.  

21                 But my understanding, there's an 

22          outstanding civil service exam for IT 

23          professionals.  Why wouldn't we just simply 

24          go to the list that's existing and hire off 

                                                                  23

 1          that list?  Why are we -- are we talking 

 2          about provisional appointments?  

 3                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Well, 

 4          these are considered temporary appointments, 

 5          in that they're time-limited.

 6                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Well, that's what a 

 7          provisional appointment is.

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  But to 

 9          your question about why we don't go -- why 

10          ITS would not go to the list, I think that, 

11          you know -- first and foremost, I think all 

12          agencies try to hire state employees as -- in 

13          most cases.  In the case of ITS, it's my 

14          understanding that we don't always -- that 

15          the state workforce doesn't always have the 

16          cutting-edge IT skills or the most recent 

17          certifications or necessarily the talent that 

18          ITS is looking for in order to move certain 

19          projects forward.  

20                 So we see this as a way of providing 

21          an opportunity and a vehicle for ITS to get 

22          people in quickly with the in-demand skills 

23          that we need right now.  And right now the 

24          18-month temporary jobs that we currently 

                                                                  24

 1          have -- because 18 months is a relatively 

 2          short period of time, you know, if someone is 

 3          accepting a job, it really doesn't offer the 

 4          stability that they've needed to make these 

 5          jobs attractive to people.  So extending that 

 6          time period to 60 months, we're hoping we 

 7          would make that more attractive to IT 

 8          professionals.

 9                 And there's nothing in that proposal 

10          that would prohibit current state employees 

11          from being appointed to those temporary 

12          positions.  State employees are able to 

13          assume those appointments as well.

14                 SENATOR SAVINO:  I would just suggest 

15          that you go to the existing list.  Because 

16          the exam was created by the state.  You know, 

17          after we did IT insourcing several years ago, 

18          it was developed by your agency to reflect 

19          the needs of these types of professionals in 

20          the state agencies.  So I would hope that you 

21          had created that sort of an exam to test 

22          those skills.  

23                 So I would suggest you go to that list 

24          first.  And if after you exhaust that list, 

                                                                  25

 1          you don't have any more people that could 

 2          fill this new position, then you could, you 

 3          know, create a new position.

 4                 I just think since we've gone to the 

 5          trouble of creating the jobs, insourcing them 

 6          to begin with, developing the exam to test 

 7          the skills for it, that we go down that road.  

 8          Because even in your own -- or in the 

 9          Governor's proposal, he talks about bringing 

10          in these people, giving them a 60-month term, 

11          and during that period of time developing a 

12          civil service test by which they're still 

13          going to have to sit, take it, in an effort 

14          to hold on to that job.  

15                 So we're trying to create a civil 

16          service position for these individuals.  I 

17          just think we've already done that, and we 

18          should utilize them first.

19                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Thank 

20          you, Senator.  

21                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL: Assemblyman 

22          DenDekker.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN DenDEKKER:  I totally 

24          agree with Senator Savino.  

                                                                  26

 1                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN DenDEKKER:  I think she is 

 3          absolutely right.  You created the test, and 

 4          more importantly, people took the test.  

 5          They're looking for jobs.  And now you're not 

 6          even going to that list, to the people that 

 7          took that test and passed it and they're put 

 8          on the list, and instead you're going to hire 

 9          other people.  And these people are just 

10          going to stay on this list.  And that seems 

11          very unfair to the people that took the time 

12          to prepare and go take test.  

13                 And by not going to that list, you 

14          have no idea what qualifications they 

15          currently have.  Obviously, if it's something 

16          that they feel strongly about in that field, 

17          they are constantly learning the new systems 

18          and they're staying brushed up on everything 

19          that they need to know.  So I totally agree 

20          with the Senator.

21                 What I'd like to know is, can you tell 

22          us how many contract workers the state 

23          currently has hired?

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  The 

                                                                  27

 1          state currently has approximately 7800 

 2          contract employees, and the projection is 

 3          that that number will decrease down to 7500 

 4          in 2018.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Okay.  So we 

 6          still have well over 7,000 contract workers, 

 7          yet we're going to cut the state workforce by 

 8          136 full-time positions.  Why aren't we 

 9          increasing -- why aren't we maintaining at 

10          least the current level?  You very eloquently 

11          talked about over the past five years how 

12          it's almost stable.  No, it's not cut.  We've 

13          cut it by 1 percent over the last five years.

14                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Just a 

15          point of clarification.  I didn't speak about 

16          cutting the state workforce.  The 136 that I 

17          was referring to was due to attrition.  

18          Retirements.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  I understand 

20          that.  But why aren't we hiring to fully keep 

21          it the same when the budget currently shows a 

22          decrease of 136 positions?  So they're not 

23          going to refill all the positions through 

24          attrition.

                                                                  28

 1                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  

 2          Assemblyman, we are endeavoring to hire.  As 

 3          I mentioned, in 2016 we hired 12,500 people.  

 4          So we are still hiring.  

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  But how many 

 6          people did we lose in 2016?

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I 

 8          would have to --

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  If we hired 

10          12,000 but we lost 13, then --

11                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I'd 

12          have to get -- I'd have to get back to you on 

13          the number of -- the attrition rate.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  -- we still 

15          have a net loss.

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I'd 

17          have to follow up with you on the attrition 

18          rate for 2016.  And I'd be happy to do that; 

19          I don't have that with me today.  

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  What's the 

21          average salary of a contract worker?

22                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  The 

23          Department of Civil Service does not maintain 

24          salary information for contract workers.  We 

                                                                  29

 1          do that for state employees.  That 

 2          information is maintained -- contained in 

 3          individual agency contracts.  So we do 

 4          collect information --

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Is there a 

 6          particular reason why you don't capture that 

 7          information and make it available?

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  The 

 9          information that we do capture is we collect 

10          information on the number of contracts, the 

11          services that are being provided, how many 

12          contracts there are.  

13                 And at this time that's what we are 

14          required to collect.  I don't have a reason 

15          beyond that.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Okay.  So then 

17          seeing you're not required, it would be 

18          probably in our best interest as houses to 

19          put that requirement on you and draft some 

20          sort of legislation requiring you to let us 

21          know what the average salary is of the 

22          contract workers so we can try to look at the 

23          cost and see why we're hiring contract 

24          workers and not having full-time state 

                                                                  30

 1          employees do those jobs to save that money.

 2                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I 

 3          would call your attention to the fact that 

 4          each year in the budget the amount that we're 

 5          spending on contractors is reported in 

 6          aggregate.  And I know that doesn't get to 

 7          your question about individual salaries, but 

 8          just pointing out that that information is 

 9          reported in the budget each year.  

10                 And in fact, the projection for this 

11          year is that we'll be spending $52 million 

12          less -- well, in 2018 spending $52 million 

13          less than we did in 2017.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  I have no more 

15          questions.  Thank you.

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Thank 

17          you, Assemblyman.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I'll follow up on 

19          this issue with the term appointments.  And 

20          as you know and has been brought up, in the 

21          Laws of 2009, 500 term appointments were 

22          authorized.  And I'm not really clear, how 

23          many of those term-appointment slots have 

24          been actually utilized?

                                                                  31

 1                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Of the 

 2          term appointments that were authorized, 75 

 3          individuals have taken civil service exams 

 4          and transitioned into permanent state 

 5          employment.  And that authorization expired 

 6          in 2011, I believe.  It has expired.  I think 

 7          it was in 2011.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So why is that rate 

 9          so low?  Could you please explain that?  Oh, 

10          my mic is off.  Why is that rate so low?  

11          Could you please explain why only 75 out of 

12          500 were utilized?

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I 

14          mean, that's really a question for ITS, who 

15          would be managing their eligible list and 

16          making hiring decisions within their agency.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Would you agree 

18          that that's a very low number, however?

19                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I 

20          agree that out of 500, 75 -- you know, it 

21          certainly didn't meet the threshold and the 

22          expectation at that time.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So because the 

24          five-year term expired, there are no slots 

                                                                  32

 1          available right now?

 2                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  No 

 3          slots available?  

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  For five-year 

 5          terms.  Are there slots available right now?

 6                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Oh, 

 7          under the prior legislation, no.  Because the 

 8          authorization for that has expired.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So that expired, 

10          but are there slots available right now?

11                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Could 

12          temporary appointments be made right now?  

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Yes.

14                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Yes.  

15          And we make -- we -- the department 

16          establishes temporary jobs, not only for ITS 

17          but other agencies where it's deemed 

18          necessary.  So yes.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Does the Governor's 

20          budget ask for additional slots?

21                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  The 

22          Governor's budget puts forth legislation to 

23          authorize the authority for ITS to do this, 

24          yes.

                                                                  33

 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Up to 250 slots; is 

 2          that correct?

 3                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  That's 

 4          correct, yes.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  So we talked 

 6          about the transition to become full-time 

 7          state employees, and that seems to be a very 

 8          low number also.  So just looking at 

 9          independent contractors in general, more 

10          broadly, should we do some kind of study as 

11          to how the use of independent contractors are 

12          working and whether state employees actually 

13          could fulfill these jobs themselves?

14                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Should 

15          you do a study?  

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Should there be a 

17          study done?

18                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  If the 

19          Legislature requested that a study be done, 

20          that is something that we would actively 

21          participate in.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Well, I'll 

23          follow up with some of the labor leaders 

24          later on.  But thank you.

                                                                  34

 1                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Thank 

 2          you, Senator.

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 4                 We've been joined by Assemblyman 

 5          Colton.  

 6                 Next to question, Assemblyman Oaks.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Good morning.

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Good 

 9          morning.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  I wanted to ask a 

11          question related to -- I see that there's 

12          been a proposal for a retiree health benefit 

13          trust fund to be created as a part of the 

14          budget.

15                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Yes.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  And as I read it, 

17          if we have money at the end of the year left 

18          over, we would take a portion of that and put 

19          it in that trust fund.

20                 So a couple of questions related to 

21          that is ultimately are we looking that that 

22          trust fund would be able to cover the cost of 

23          retiree benefits?  Would that be totally, is 

24          that the goal of it?  Or just to --

                                                                  35

 1                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  No, I 

 2          don't think that the goal is to totally cover 

 3          it.  It would continue to be coverage with 

 4          the NYSHIP program and through enrollee 

 5          contributions.  

 6                 I think that this trust fund would be 

 7          established to help pay for future healthcare 

 8          costs for retirees and their dependents.  It 

 9          would be yet another mechanism to help 

10          control costs.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  And -- but probably 

12          just a portion of that, not necessarily the 

13          annual --

14                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  

15          Correct.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  So it says that it 

17          would be under the sole custody of the 

18          commission or the Department of Civil 

19          Service, but then the commissioner would 

20          delegate responsibility of managing those 

21          investments to the commissioner of Taxation 

22          and Finance.  

23                 Are you aware, does Tax and Finance 

24          have trust funds or do they manage dollars at 

                                                                  36

 1          this point?

 2                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I am 

 3          not aware of whether they do or do not have 

 4          trust funds that they manage.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Or does the -- the 

 6          commissioner of Civil Service doesn't have 

 7          those responsibilities, though, it's just -- 

 8          I know --

 9                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  These 

10          would be new responsibilities for both 

11          agencies.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Okay.

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  And 

14          again, that would be done by the commissioner 

15          of Tax in consultation with the state's 

16          Healthcare Insurance Council.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  I know there are 

18          discussions back and forth on different funds 

19          that we have in the state.  Should it be sole 

20          responsibility of someone, should it be a 

21          board?  And I know it's done both ways, but 

22          I'm just interested to see that the Governor 

23          has proposed that.

24                 Are there any provisions that you're 

                                                                  37

 1          aware of that this just wouldn't be a fund 

 2          that could be used for other things -- in 

 3          other words, protections to keep it from 

 4          being raided at some time in the future if we 

 5          build up money in there but needed money for 

 6          something else?  Are there any provisions 

 7          that you're aware of that would --

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  That 

 9          would allow for that?  No.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Or that would 

11          prohibit it, so that it would be focused just 

12          on employee benefits as opposed to used for 

13          --

14                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Well, 

15          I mean, as I read the legislation, that's 

16          what the fund is for and that's what it's 

17          focused on.  I'm not aware of any provisions 

18          that would allow for it to be used for 

19          another purpose.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you.

21                 Just one other question.  I do see 

22          that there have been a shift of a certain 

23          number of employees, 3,000 -- I think 3,174, 

24          that would go from state workforce to be 

                                                                  38

 1          identified with capital projects, shifting 

 2          them from the state operations portion of the 

 3          budget to that part.

 4                 Do you have any sense of how much 

 5          those 3,000-plus positions, what their 

 6          combined salary might be that we're shifting?

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I do 

 8          not.  I do not have that sense.  But I'd be 

 9          happy to follow up and provide you with that 

10          information if it's available.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you very 

12          much.

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  You're 

14          welcome.

15                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL: Phil Steck, 

16          Assemblyman Phil Steck.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  Twenty-four 

18          counties in New York State are self-insured 

19          for health insurance.  I was a member of a 

20          self-insured plan.  A lot of major 

21          corporations are self-insured.  When I got in 

22          the NYSHIP plan, to be honest, I was shocked 

23          at how poor the benefits were in comparison 

24          to the self-insured plan that I had 

                                                                  39

 1          previously been a member of.

 2                 With the vast number of employees that 

 3          the State of New York has, why have we not 

 4          considered going to a self-insured health 

 5          plan for state employees?  

 6                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  

 7          Assemblyman, in fact we have moved to a 

 8          self-insured health plan.  And in fact we've 

 9          been self-insured since 2013.  So all of our 

10          vendor contracts for hospital/medical, for 

11          prescription drugs, for mental health 

12          services have been moved to self-insured 

13          since 2013.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  That's a portion 

15          of it, correct?  

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  No.  

17          The --

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  So it was -- it's 

19          confusing to me --

20                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  The 

21          Empire Plan is self-insured.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  So it's confusing 

23          to me because when I signed up for NYSHIP, 

24          there were many different health insurance 

                                                                  40

 1          companies that we were picking from.  

 2          Typically in the self-insured plan you would 

 3          not have that.

 4                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I 

 5          think you're referring to the HMOs that 

 6          people have to choose from.  Is that what -- 

 7          I'm not sure what you're referring to.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  Well, normally in 

 9          a self-insured health plan, the only function 

10          of a health insurer it is to evaluate and pay 

11          claims, so there would not be a particular 

12          need for a wide variety of HMOs.  So I'm not 

13          following you.

14                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Right.  

15          So under our self-insured plans, you're 

16          right, we pay claims directly as opposed to 

17          going through an insurance carrier.  So 

18          you're right on that point.  But I can assure 

19          you, we are self-insured.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  So can you explain 

21          to me why you have to pick from a number of 

22          HMOs, for example?  

23                 UNIDENTIFIED STAFF MEMBER:  It's 

24          collectively bargained.  Our benefits are 

                                                                  41

 1          collectively bargained.  And so the option of 

 2          the HMOs are as well.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN STEC:  So are those HMOs 

 4          part of a self-insured plan or are they 

 5          separate, private insurance that's available 

 6          in the market?

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Yes.  

 8          And the ability to do that is something that 

 9          was determined by collective bargaining.  So 

10          that's --

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  By the way, if 

12          someone is answering from back there, I would 

13          ask that they come forward and speak into the 

14          mic.

15                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Okay, 

16          sure.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  I have another 

18          question, going back to this issue of the 

19          contract employees.  

20                 The way contract employees work is 

21          typically the state doesn't do business 

22          directly with the contract employees, the 

23          contract employees are actually employed by 

24          some other employer; isn't that correct?

                                                                  42

 1                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  That's 

 2          correct.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  So quite honestly, 

 4          that other employer could simply be a person 

 5          who's out collecting employees and then, in 

 6          essence, renting them to the state; correct?

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  

 8          Collecting employees and renting them to the 

 9          state?  I'm not sure what that means.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  In other words, 

11          they may simply be a business that finds 

12          employees and does nothing more than hook 

13          those employees up with jobs at the state; 

14          isn't that right?

15                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  The 

16          employees who work for the contractor are 

17          employees of the contractor, not of the 

18          state.  

19                 But to answer your question, and what 

20          I think that you're getting at is, is there a 

21          process in place to make sure that 

22          contractors that we're doing business with 

23          are legitimate?  And I would say yes, there 

24          is.  Because all contracts go through a 

                                                                  43

 1          certain level of review, agency level of 

 2          review, the office of the Attorney General.  

 3          Before any contract is effectuated, it has to 

 4          go through the office of the State 

 5          Comptroller to ensure that the business is 

 6          legitimate, that they employ who they say 

 7          they employ, and that they are appropriate to 

 8          do business with the State of New York.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  So my point is, 

10          though, that the business, if it's simply an 

11          employee-finding agency, has to charge more 

12          for those employees than the state would have 

13          to charge if the state employed them itself, 

14          because it is simply a business of recruiting 

15          employees and has no other purpose.  In fact, 

16          I'm well aware that that's the practice, 

17          because I've dealt with these in my private 

18          life.

19                 So -- and in fact, another factor 

20          that's involved is many of these employment 

21          agencies, which is really what they are, are 

22          bringing in employees on an H-1B visa 

23          program, particularly in the tech area.  And 

24          I don't know if your department has made any 

                                                                  44

 1          certification, for the purpose of an H-1B 

 2          visa program, that there aren't American 

 3          workers who could fill those jobs.

 4                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  We do 

 5          not have a role, any kind of role in 

 6          certifying visa programs for employment, if 

 7          that's your question.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  So in other words, 

 9          the employment agency is doing that, and you 

10          have no idea what they're doing?

11                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I'm 

12          not familiar with what employment agencies 

13          you may know about or the experiences that 

14          you may have.  That is not something that 

15          we've come across.  There are a number of 

16          kinds of contractors that we deal with.  I am 

17          not sure how many of them -- if any of 

18          them -- are temporary employment agencies.  

19                 So that is not something that I can 

20          answer for you today, but I can certainly 

21          look into it.  And I'd be happy to follow up 

22          and provide your office with that 

23          information.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  When we say 

                                                                  45

 1          employment agency, it doesn't have to be a 

 2          temporary employment agency.  The idea of an 

 3          employment agency is simply that all that 

 4          company does is find employees and match them 

 5          with jobs at the State of New York.  That's 

 6          all they do.  They have nothing else -- no 

 7          other function.  They might not even have a 

 8          physical location where they do business.  

 9          All they're doing is getting employees from a 

10          particular place, many times overseas, and 

11          bringing them here to fit slots at the State 

12          of New York.  That's what I'm referring to.

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I 

14          understand what you're referring to, and I'm 

15          saying I have no knowledge of that occurring 

16          within the state of -- within the workforce 

17          and within the contractual agreements that we 

18          have.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN STECK:  I assure you that 

20          it is occurring.

21                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Thank 

22          you, Assemblyman.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

24                 Senator Comrie.

                                                                  46

 1                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Good morning, 

 2          Commissioner Brabham.  

 3                 Thank you, Senator, for allowing me to 

 4          ask a question.  I wasn't quite prepared when 

 5          I first came in.  

 6                 But I was concerned about the aspect 

 7          of trying to compartmentalize the hearing 

 8          units around the state and what that would -- 

 9          how would that impact the ability of the 

10          workers in three different ways.  Number one, 

11          their access to coming to a hearing, would 

12          that -- would they make sure that the hearing 

13          offices are still located where a person 

14          could travel easily?  And has anything been 

15          done specifically to look about the location 

16          and the aspects of people having to travel 

17          out of their zone or out of their county to 

18          get to a hearing unit?  And what specifically 

19          have you done to start talking about this 

20          vis-a-vis union negotiations?

21                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Yeah, 

22          I believe there are discussions underway with 

23          regard to that.  And of course this proposal 

24          is still -- you know, the mechanics of how 

                                                                  47

 1          this would operate is still being developed.  

 2                 I think the point here is to 

 3          consolidate the ALJs in one location, because 

 4          I think it lends itself to potentially better 

 5          hearing decisions when you have the ALJs 

 6          clustered together.  Certainly it provides an 

 7          opportunity for more targeted training to the 

 8          ALJs, to the extent that there's continuing 

 9          education or additional training that people 

10          need.  And also it probably presents the 

11          opportunity or may present the opportunity 

12          for some administrative savings.  

13                 But to your points about where they're 

14          going to be located, that's not a question 

15          that I can answer for you today because it's 

16          still under development.  But I'd be happy to 

17          get back to you on that when information is 

18          available.

19                 SENATOR COMRIE:  And wouldn't there 

20          have to be negotiations with the different 

21          unions to talk about consolidation or the 

22          technical staff that would be required?

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I 

24          guess depending upon what develops, that may 

                                                                  48

 1          be the case.  But again, the Governor's 

 2          Office of Employee Relations would be able to 

 3          provide more information on what needs to be 

 4          bargained and what does not.

 5                 SENATOR COMRIE:  And some of these -- 

 6          some of the issues that come before the 

 7          administrative hearings are highly technical 

 8          and should be handled by people with real 

 9          expertise, not a general ALJ administrative 

10          officer.  Has any thought been given to that 

11          process at all, or are you saying that this 

12          is just a preliminary idea and there's no -- 

13          hasn't been any real meetings on it one way 

14          or the other?

15                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  No, 

16          I'm not saying that at all.  I'm saying that 

17          the proposal is still under development, and 

18          I'm sure that those details are going to be 

19          discussed.

20                 Yes, some of the issues are highly 

21          technical and deal with very serious issues.  

22          And I'm sure that the ALJs that deal with 

23          those issues will continue to do so.

24                 SENATOR COMRIE:  And I'm also 

                                                                  49

 1          concerned about the ability of our 

 2          constituents to have an open opportunity to 

 3          be represented at these hearings, and I would 

 4          hope that that is enhanced as well.  I've 

 5          gotten a lot of complaints from my 

 6          constituents that have had to go through a 

 7          hearing that they were not able to gain 

 8          representation or be able to bring 

 9          representation sometimes to the hearings.  

10                 I wanted to get an idea from you on 

11          how that's broken down.  When can a person 

12          bring representation, and what type of 

13          representation can they bring to a hearing?

14                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Well, 

15          I'm not familiar with every situation, but I 

16          do know that individuals are entitled to 

17          representation.  I'm not sure about the 

18          specific cases that you may be talking about 

19          where people were not allowed to bring 

20          representation.  But certainly we can follow 

21          up with your office.  And if we could be 

22          helpful with providing information to you on 

23          that, we'd be happy to do it.

24                 SENATOR COMRIE:  I will get back to 

                                                                  50

 1          you with those specifics, definitely.

 2                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Thank 

 3          you, Senator.

 4                 SENATOR COMRIE:  But we've had some 

 5          concerns about people that did not feel that 

 6          they were able to articulate their full case 

 7          before an ALJ officer.  And I would hope that 

 8          in whatever the reconstruction is, that those 

 9          details can be clarified and codified so 

10          there won't be any question or -- there won't 

11          be any opportunities for a person not to get 

12          a fair and full hearing and have their issues 

13          articulated clearly.

14                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  

15          Absolutely.  I agree.

16                 SENATOR COMRIE:  And it seems like I'm 

17          having -- this morning I'm not being clear 

18          myself.  So there are days where a person 

19          really needs to have a pro se representation 

20          at a hearing so that they can have their 

21          concerns articulated in the best way 

22          possible, and a few of my constituents have 

23          felt that they were not able to get their 

24          concerns articulated.  

                                                                  51

 1                 So I'm very concerned about 

 2          consolidation and generalization of a matter 

 3          that is so important to somebody's 

 4          opportunity to continue their employment or 

 5          defend their position, if there's a wrong 

 6          that was done to them that put them in a 

 7          situation where they had to have a hearing.

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Well, 

 9          as I said, you know, we'd be happy to help 

10          facilitate getting answers to your questions 

11          about individual cases as well as additional 

12          information as plans develop with regard to 

13          the consolidation.

14                 SENATOR COMRIE:  All right.  I see my 

15          time is up.  Thank you.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, Senator 

17          Comrie.  

18                 We've been joined by Senator Marisol 

19          Alcantara.

20                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Shelley Mayer, 

21          Assemblywoman.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Thank you.  

23                 Good morning.

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Good 

                                                                  52

 1          morning.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  I have a 

 3          question about the proposal to reduce the 

 4          health contribution for retirees, the 

 5          Medicare Part B contribution.

 6                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Yes.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  With respect to 

 8          both -- well, let's start with current 

 9          retirees.  How many current retirees would be 

10          impacted by that proposal?

11                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Which 

12          proposal are we -- there are actually two 

13          Medicare proposals.  I think the one that 

14          you're referring to is the standard Medicare 

15          Part B premium.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Yes, the 

17          freezing of it, yes.

18                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  All 

19          retirees would be subject to that proposal, 

20          all current retirees.

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  How many are 

22          there?

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  There 

24          are, state retirees, around 140,000.

                                                                  53

 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  And what's the 

 2          projected savings in Year 1 for that?

 3                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  The 

 4          projected savings in Year 1 is about $3.5 

 5          million for that particular proposal.  When 

 6          you take all three proposals together, it's 

 7          about $10 million in the current year.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  And that would 

 9          apply regardless of the income or the assets 

10          of the retiree?

11                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  That 

12          would apply depending on when you enrolled in 

13          the program.  So right now the reimbursement 

14          is anywhere from $104 a month to $121 a 

15          month, depending upon when you enrolled.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  But my point is 

17          that anyone who is among that large group of 

18          current retirees --

19                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Yes, 

20          it would apply.

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  -- regardless of 

22          whether they were simply getting by on their 

23          pension check --

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  That's 

                                                                  54

 1          correct.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  -- or they had 

 3          no other assets, this would freeze the 

 4          state's reimbursement for their Part B 

 5          premium?

 6                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  That 

 7          is correct.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  With respect to 

 9          the IRMAA proposal, which is the second part 

10          you were talking about, how many retirees do 

11          you anticipate that would apply to?

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Well, 

13          it would apply to the retirees with higher 

14          income.  I don't know that I have the number 

15          of enrollees that it would apply to.  But it 

16          would apply to individuals with incomes 

17          anywhere between $85,000 and $170,000. 

18                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  You don't know 

19          approximately how many you're projecting this 

20          would apply to?

21                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  About 

22          8,000 individuals.

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  And what is the 

24          projected savings in Year 1?

                                                                  55

 1                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  

 2          Approximately $2 million.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Is this an issue 

 4          that has been discussed or negotiated with 

 5          the collective bargaining agreements that 

 6          represent the current employees?

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I'm 

 8          not -- you know, as I said before, GOER is 

 9          really the agency that has those discussions 

10          and decides what is collectively bargained.  

11          So I think that Mike Volforte, who is up 

12          next, would be better positioned to, you 

13          know, talk to you about what discussions have 

14          been had with the unions.

15                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Okay, thank you.

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  You're 

17          welcome.

18                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblyman 

19          Bronson.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Yes, thank you 

21          for being here today.  I want to follow up on 

22          the contract workers and the independent 

23          contractor situation.  

24                 You know, this state continues to rely 

                                                                  56

 1          heavily on contracting out for services that 

 2          can be done by state workers.  And the 

 3          reality is that it appears that there could 

 4          be savings if we actually utilized the 

 5          expertise and the skill and the knowledge of 

 6          those state workers.  

 7                 You mentioned in your testimony 

 8          earlier about when a contract is going to be 

 9          let out, you evaluate the contractor to make 

10          sure that contractor can perform the services 

11          and they're of quality and things of that 

12          nature.  Is there any evaluation done by 

13          agencies or by your office in doing a 

14          comparison of the cost to taxpayers in 

15          letting that contract out to an independent 

16          contractor versus having it done by a state 

17          worker or a team of state workers?

18                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  That 

19          analysis is not performed by Civil Service.  

20          And I would assume that it is being performed 

21          by agencies that are entering into those 

22          contracts, but I can't speak for those 

23          agencies to give you specifics.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  All right.  

                                                                  57

 1          Would it surprise you if you knew that it's 

 2          typically not done by those agencies?  

 3                 (No response.)

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Are you aware of 

 5          various comptrollers on both sides of the 

 6          aisle who have issued reports over the years 

 7          indicating that we are losing hundreds of 

 8          millions of dollars by letting out those 

 9          contracts instead of using state workers?

10                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I am 

11          aware of the reports.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  And has there 

13          been any effort by your office whatsoever -- 

14          you testified that you don't have information 

15          regarding the salary levels or the payment 

16          compensation to independent contractors, you 

17          only keep that data on state workers.  Has 

18          there been any --

19                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I'm 

20          saying we don't have that information because 

21          we're not the agency who is contracting with 

22          the contractor.  The agencies who hold those 

23          contracts I'm sure have that information.  

24                 There is other information that we do 

                                                                  58

 1          collect with regard to what kinds of services 

 2          are being provided to the state and how many 

 3          contractors are working on those services, 

 4          the categories of services, things like that.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Sure.  So you're 

 6          collecting some data from those agencies.

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Yes.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Is there any 

 9          reason why you would not collect data 

10          regarding the compensation levels?  

11                 And let me follow up with that 

12          question.  And wouldn't that give you 

13          valuable information as you're making 

14          determinations about decisions regarding the 

15          state workforce itself?

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  It 

17          could potentially yield valuable information, 

18          yes.  

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  So in the 

20          future, is there any chance that you will be 

21          able to collect that data and analyze it so 

22          that we who are charged to represent 

23          taxpayers in this state can get the best 

24          service from the best workers and make the 

                                                                  59

 1          best decisions for those taxpayers?

 2                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Well, 

 3          I certainly agree we want to make the best 

 4          decision for the taxpayers and we want to 

 5          make sure that we get what we're paying for.  

 6          So yes, I think we would be open to that.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Okay.  Thank 

 8          you.

 9                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

10                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Thank 

11          you.

12                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Mr. Oaks was asking 

13          and talking to you about the Taxation and 

14          Finance investing and you had to -- 

15          establishing a retiree health trust fund.  

16          Could you give me an explanation of why they 

17          think -- you think that they are the best 

18          choice to invest these funds?

19                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Well, 

20          why do I think the Tax Department would be 

21          the best choice to invest the funds?  

22                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Yes.  To you.  See, 

23          the other thing is you don't use, you give 

24          out. 

                                                                  60

 1                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  I'm 

 2          sorry?

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  In other words, you 

 4          get money and you give it to the agencies.  

 5          But this is a separate one.  So --

 6                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  So 

 7          this is -- you know, this is a proposal 

 8          that's contained in this year's budget.  This 

 9          is something that has been developed, you 

10          know, in consultation with the Division of 

11          Budget.  And we think that this is a fair way 

12          to proceed.  Fair and reasonable.

13                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

15          much.  I think everyone has asked questions 

16          who wants to ask questions.

17                 Okay.  Well, thank you very much for 

18          joining us today.

19                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Thank 

20          you for your time.

21                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

22                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER BRABHAM:  Thank 

23          you.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Next we will be 

                                                                  61

 1          joined by Michael N. Volforte, interim 

 2          director of the Governor's Office of Employee 

 3          Relations, or GOER.

 4                 Welcome.  We look forward to your 

 5          testimony.  (Pause.)  So let's begin.

 6                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Thank 

 7          you.  Good morning, Chairwoman Young, 

 8          Chairman Farrell, and honorable members of 

 9          the Assembly and Senate.  

10                 Good morning.  I am Michael Volforte, 

11          and I serve as the interim director of the 

12          Governor's Office of Employee Relations.  I'm 

13          pleased to have the opportunity to address 

14          Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget proposal 

15          for the upcoming fiscal year as it relates to 

16          my office and the workforce.  

17                 During the past year, the state 

18          reached collective bargaining agreements with 

19          several unions that represent our employees.  

20          We reached two agreements with the Public 

21          Employees Federation that cover the years 

22          2015-2016 and 2016-2019, both of which were 

23          ratified by overwhelming margins.  

24                 We also reached an agreement with the 

                                                                  62

 1          Graduate Student Employees Union for the 

 2          2016-2019 period and the New York State 

 3          Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent 

 4          Association for the 2016-2021 period.  These 

 5          last two agreements have not yet been 

 6          ratified.  

 7                 All of the agreements we reached 

 8          strike a balance, fairly compensating our 

 9          valuable public employees while maintaining 

10          fiscal discipline.  

11                 Along with our partners in labor, the 

12          Governor's Office of Employee Relations 

13          provides high-quality benefit programs to the 

14          state workforce.  These include pre-tax 

15          contribution programs for unreimbursed health 

16          care expenses, dependent care expenses and 

17          certain transportation expenses, 

18          pre-retirement planning seminars, wellness 

19          services, and our well-established Employee 

20          Assistance Program, through which thousands 

21          of employees obtain assistance to help them 

22          achieve work-life balance and address other 

23          issues in their lives.  

24                 We have built upon Governor Cuomo's 

                                                                  63

 1          long-standing commitment to protecting and 

 2          educating the state workforce.  We just 

 3          completed our third year of enterprise-wide 

 4          mandatory training programs for employees, 

 5          supervisors and managers designed to protect 

 6          our workforce and the work environment, stamp 

 7          out potential discrimination and ensure 

 8          access to government services by the public.  

 9          This is in addition to numerous other 

10          programs and courses that we offer that 

11          promote skills in leadership, supervision, 

12          interpersonal relations, and the specific 

13          skills needed to do the myriad jobs that make 

14          up the state workforce.  

15                 We also continued our work with our 

16          partners in Civil Service to ensure, for 

17          example, that when a title series is revamped 

18          that training and development opportunities 

19          are available to employees to assist them in 

20          meeting the expectations of their position.  

21                 Looking to the next fiscal year, our 

22          focus will be on negotiations, implementation 

23          of recently negotiated agreements and 

24          expansion of the training available to the 

                                                                  64

 1          state workforce to enhance skills and further 

 2          their professional development.  Currently we 

 3          are in negotiations with four unions seeking 

 4          successor agreements for their expired 

 5          contracts.  The overall workforce numbers 

 6          remain stable, and there are no planned or 

 7          proposed layoffs in the Governor's budget.  

 8                 I'm also very excited to support the 

 9          Governor's proposal for the Empire Star 

10          Public Service Awards. These professional 

11          development scholarship awards will recognize 

12          the achievements of our employees and the 

13          impact they have on the lives of New Yorkers.  

14          It is important that we take the time to 

15          recognize them and reward them for jobs well 

16          done.  

17                 I'm also proud that my office will 

18          continue to assist in the Governor's fight to 

19          end wage inequality.  As you know, the 

20          Governor recently issued Executive Order 161, 

21          whereby we will no longer collect or request 

22          an applicant's compensation history as part 

23          of the application process.  Through our 

24          monitoring and oversight, this will ensure 

                                                                  65

 1          that salary is set based on the skills and 

 2          abilities a position requires and protect a 

 3          candidate seeking employment with the state 

 4          from being disadvantaged based on what the 

 5          candidate made in their prior employment.  

 6                 Over the next year, we will continue 

 7          our collaboration with the unions, and I'm 

 8          confident that we will reach agreements that 

 9          are fiscally responsible, provide deserved 

10          benefits for the workforce, and help ensure 

11          continued provision of essential services on 

12          which their fellow New Yorkers rely.  

13                 Thank you.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

15          much.

16                 I just have one quick question.  You 

17          say the overall workforce numbers remain 

18          stable and there are no planned or proposed 

19          layoffs in the Governor's budget.  But are 

20          there jobs that will not be filled this year, 

21          and how many?

22                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  As 

23          Executive Deputy Commissioner Brabham said, 

24          we're expecting the net employment levels 

                                                                  66

 1          to -- we're going to attrit out 136 

 2          positions.  So overall there will be -- the 

 3          plan is, under the proposed budget, that we 

 4          will fill 136 less positions than we expect 

 5          to have at the end of this March. 

 6                 There are numerous agencies -- DOCCS, 

 7          Homeland Security, Department of Health and 

 8          others -- that will be hiring, while in other 

 9          agencies they will not be filling all of the 

10          jobs that attrit.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Do you have a list 

12          of the jobs that are being eliminated?

13                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Well, I 

14          wouldn't say that jobs are being eliminated, 

15          because nobody is being laid off.  But we are 

16          having --

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  The positions are 

18          not being filled --

19                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  That 

20          would vary by agencies.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  -- so thereby the 

22          jobs are being eliminated, because there will 

23          no longer be workers in those positions.  

24          So --

                                                                  67

 1                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  That's 

 2          really going to depend on who leaves when in 

 3          a specific agency.  And that will vary 

 4          tremendously by agencies.  Because we -- it 

 5          will only be at that point in time that an 

 6          agency looks to make a decision about filling 

 7          or not filling that vacancy.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So you don't have 

 9          specific jobs that you're thinking of that 

10          you're -- just as people retire, you're just 

11          going to certain positions, but you're not 

12          sure which positions those are?

13                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  No.  I 

14          think, depending on the agency, they're 

15          targeted to specific agencies, such as in 

16          OPWDD and OMH, with their deinstit -- 

17          deinstitu -- removing individuals from 

18          institutional settings and setting them in 

19          community-based settings.  They will fall 

20          within those categories, but I'm not aware of 

21          the specific titles or jobs or people who are 

22          now going to be affected.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  But how then do you 

24          know that there's a specific number if you're 

                                                                  68

 1          not aware of which jobs they are?

 2                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Those 

 3          numbers are discussed between the Division of 

 4          Budget and the individual agencies that are 

 5          involved, and they have targets set based on 

 6          what they expect to happen in those sectors 

 7          of their business.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Do you at least 

 9          have a list of which agencies may be 

10          affected?

11                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Yes.  In 

12          the --

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Could you get that 

14          to the Legislature, please?

15                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  That 

16          information, at least at a high level, is 

17          contained in the workforce summary section of 

18          the Budget Book.  But I can certainly point 

19          out those specific pages to you in that 

20          document.  I'll point that out, absolutely.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, thank you.

22                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblyman Abbate.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  I have one 

24          question on your testimony.  You basically 

                                                                  69

 1          say, in testimony again, we've built upon the 

 2          Governor's long-standing commitment to 

 3          protecting and educating the state workforce.  

 4                 You missed a few things which -- you 

 5          know, I've been the chair for a while -- that 

 6          have been going on way before the Governor 

 7          took office.  My understanding is those 

 8          programs are being less fulfilled now than 

 9          they were in the past.  Can you state 

10          something that really has come from the 

11          Governor's administration or the Governor 

12          that really does?

13                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE: 

14          Absolutely, yes.  Under Governor Cuomo, the 

15          state published its first comprehensive EEO 

16          policy, which it's located on our website, 

17          and it's the first ever compilation of all of 

18          the rights, protections, obligations of all 

19          state employees under federal/state law.  

20          We --

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  Wasn't that at 

22          the insistence of the Legislature?

23                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  No.  That 

24          was -- I mean, the laws were in place, but a 

                                                                  70

 1          state employee prior to 2012 couldn't go to 

 2          one location and find a compilation of all of 

 3          those rights and responsibilities that they 

 4          have.

 5                 We also launched a uniform, 

 6          comprehensive investigation process for all 

 7          claims of discrimination in employment based 

 8          on those rights and responsibilities.  Before 

 9          we did that, all of the agencies would 

10          investigate on their own, pursuant to their 

11          own procedures, and we standardized 

12          investigative procedures.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  That sounds 

14          great, but the two things you did have been 

15          really at the insistence of the legislatures 

16          over the years, not something new that, you 

17          know, the Governor proposed.  

18                 You know, this is stuff that's been 

19          asked for year after year by different 

20          legislators going on.  And yes, you've 

21          implemented them.  But something you said, 

22          under the Governor's long-standing 

23          commitment.  What -- you know, if you can.  

24          His long-standing commitment --

                                                                  71

 1                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Well, 

 2          these go back to the beginning of the 

 3          Governor's administration.  And there are a 

 4          series of efforts that we've undertaken since 

 5          the Governor came into office which include 

 6          the policy, the investigation process, making 

 7          sure that complaints of discrimination are 

 8          consistently investigated and followed up on 

 9          and monitored.  Those are things that have 

10          arisen under the Governor, and the Governor 

11          has done numerous other things, some in 

12          conjunction with the Legislature, some in 

13          terms of executive action -- changes to the 

14          Human Rights Law, clarifications as to what 

15          is covered under the Human Rights Law.  

16          There's a -- there's a -- you know, wage 

17          protection.  The minimum wage, which you all 

18          joined with the Governor in.  

19                 So I'm just highlighting from my 

20          perspective what --

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  We joined with 

22          the Governor?

23                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  I'm 

24          sorry?

                                                                  72

 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  We joined with 

 2          the Governor, or the Governor joined with us?

 3                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  I'm 

 4          having trouble hearing you, Assemblyman.  

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  We joined with 

 6          the Governor on the minimum wage?  Or did we 

 7          sort of bring him along into the minimum 

 8          wage?

 9                 INTERIM DIRECTOR VOLFORTE:  I'm not a 

10          student of that history, sorry. 

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN ABBATE:  Fine.  I just 

12          wanted to know his long-standing commitment.  

13          That will be all, thank you.  That's fine.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Diane 

15          Savino.

16                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, Senator 

17          Young.  Thank you, Mr. Volforte.  

18                 So I'm going to go back to a question 

19          that I raised with Civil Service.  It's about 

20          the changes, the proposed changes to retiree 

21          health -- this differential premium issue.  

22          Because it's noted in the Governor's proposal 

23          that in fact those kinds of changes have been 

24          negotiated with NYSCOPBA in their collective 

                                                                  73

 1          bargaining agreement, which you referenced in 

 2          your own testimony.  

 3                 So I'm just curious, in your testimony 

 4          you talk about that you're in discussions 

 5          with I think it's four unions right now for 

 6          successor contract negotiations.  Is that 

 7          correct, four?

 8                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Correct.

 9                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Okay.  Are you 

10          discussing those potential changes with those 

11          four unions?  

12                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  No.

13                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Why?  

14                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  We don't 

15          believe that it's required to negotiate them.

16                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Well, I'm just 

17          curious.  You felt it was appropriate to 

18          negotiate with one union, and now you just 

19          want to go forward and impose it on the other 

20          four bargaining units.  Why not have that 

21          conversation?  

22                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  The 

23          NYSCOPBA agreement is out for ratification, 

24          so I'm not going to get into a -- I can't get 

                                                                  74

 1          into a laundry list of everything that's in 

 2          that.  But that -- those proposals are not in 

 3          that agreement.

 4                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Then why would the 

 5          proposal that was sent to us indicate that 

 6          that was part of the agreement?

 7                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  I can't 

 8          speak to what you received --

 9                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Curious.

10                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  -- but 

11          there were health insurance negotiations 

12          which included changes to health insurance, 

13          but they did not include those.

14                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Interesting.  Well, 

15          my suggestion is that if you had a 

16          conversation in these collective bargaining 

17          negotiations, you might get the same kind of 

18          pushback from those four unions for the 

19          future of their retirees.  They're probably 

20          not going to be supportive of those potential 

21          changes any more than we probably will 

22          either.

23                 I want to move on, though, to -- I 

24          have a question about this Empire Star Public 

                                                                  75

 1          Service Award.  It's a scholarship program; 

 2          is that correct?  

 3                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Correct.

 4                 SENATOR SAVINO:  And what would be the 

 5          terms of this scholarship?  

 6                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  

 7          Basically, if you receive an award, we would 

 8          allow the employee up to $5,000 for 

 9          professional development opportunities, 

10          depending on who the employee was and what 

11          the employee did.  It could be training, it 

12          could be college classes, it could be 

13          equipment and other materials in support of 

14          that professional development.

15                 SENATOR SAVINO:  And it could be used 

16          for tuition, it could be used for -- have you 

17          guys actually put together the plan yet, or 

18          is it still in the development stages?  

19                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  That 

20          would be the parameters of what it could be 

21          used for.  We're remaining flexible on what 

22          the uses would have to be, because depending 

23          on what an employee did and what an employee 

24          wanted to do as professional development, 

                                                                  76

 1          that would need to vary from employee group 

 2          to employee group.  

 3                 So we're trying to remain flexible on 

 4          that, so we don't have rigid guidelines.  But 

 5          they would basically fall -- we think that 

 6          the guidelines that I -- the general 

 7          sentiments I expressed would cover the vast 

 8          majority of employees who would be awarded 

 9          those particular --

10                 SENATOR SAVINO:  But it would not be 

11          salary, correct?  It wouldn't be a cash 

12          award.

13                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Correct.  

14          It's not salary.

15                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Okay.  Because that 

16          would be a different thing.

17                 And finally, I read the piece and I 

18          have to admit, I'm somewhat baffled by this 

19          idea of why asking someone about their prior 

20          salary is somehow discriminatory, 

21          particularly in the government service.  

22          Because government salaries are set.  So if I 

23          come into a title in the government service, 

24          it doesn't matter whether I'm a man or a 

                                                                  77

 1          woman, it doesn't matter what I was doing 

 2          before; everyone hired into that title is 

 3          going to earn the same salary.  

 4                 So what difference does it make what I 

 5          earned in my previous job?  

 6                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Many 

 7          salaries are set as you discussed.  However, 

 8          before the executive order, all of our 

 9          applications still asked for those 

10          individuals' salary.  And when an individual 

11          gets hired and they pass a test, they're not 

12          automatically hired for a position, they're 

13          evaluated.  And part of the evaluation of 

14          hiring could include an individual's salary.  

15                 And the people making that hiring 

16          decision will see it.  And if two candidates 

17          are equally positioned for a job -- and let's 

18          just say one individual made $10 an hour and 

19          one individual made $100,000 a year, that 

20          person, without regard to whether they could 

21          do that particular job, could use that as a 

22          factor in that evaluation, even though the 

23          minimum salary was set.

24                 SENATOR SAVINO:  With all due respect, 

                                                                  78

 1          those two people wouldn't be competing for 

 2          the same job.  

 3                 But again, I go back to what 

 4          difference -- I fail to see what difference 

 5          it really makes in the hiring process.  But I 

 6          will say this.  All of us in the government 

 7          service, our salaries are not only set in 

 8          stone, they are public record.  So if I were 

 9          to apply for a job in the government service, 

10          you all know how much money I make right now, 

11          because it's set in statute.  Right?  As 

12          everybody who works for the government's job 

13          is public record.  

14                 So I just don't understand why this is 

15          of any value.  Perhaps it's just me, I just 

16          don't really think it's of any great value.  

17          If we want to do something about examining 

18          the inequities in -- particularly women in 

19          our public-sector workforce, you have already 

20          a workforce diversity study that's produced 

21          by the Department of Civil Service, it's 

22          examined every year.  If you want to look at 

23          the differences in job titles, that's clear.  

24          If you look at positions that are held by 

                                                                  79

 1          women traditionally compared to positions 

 2          that are held by men traditionally, where you 

 3          have the same requirements for the job, the 

 4          same education, you can see it.  Caseworkers 

 5          and probation officers:  Same 

 6          responsibilities, same duties, same 

 7          education, same experience.  One is 

 8          predominantly women, one is predominantly 

 9          men.  You see the differentiation in salary.  

10          That's where it is.  We can fix it that way.  

11                 This, in my opinion, is ice in winter.  

12          That's just my own opinion.  And at that 

13          point, I am done.  Thank you.  

14                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  But the 

15          executive order applies to applicants for 

16          employment, which will generally be from the 

17          outside, will not be state applicants for 

18          employment.

19                 SENATOR SAVINO:  It's really 

20          irrelevant.  It really is.  But thank you.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, Senator.

22                 Assemblyman?  

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblyman Weprin.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Yes, thank you, 

                                                                  80

 1          Mr. Chairman.  

 2                 Mr. Volforte, I'm the new Correction 

 3          Committee chair in the Assembly.  And you 

 4          referred to and Senator Savino asked about 

 5          the NYSCOPBA contract and the health 

 6          insurance relation.  I understand it's out 

 7          for ratification, and it's a six-year 

 8          contract.  

 9                 What was the prior contract before?  

10          How many years was that for, and what is the 

11          proposals on this contract versus the prior 

12          contract?  

13                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  The 

14          current contract pending ratification is 

15          actually five years.  It covers the April 1, 

16          2016 to March 31, 2021 period.  

17                 The prior contract to this one was 

18          actually a seven-year agreement.  It covered 

19          the April 1, 2009, period to March 31, 2016.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Okay.  Is there a 

21          reason why it went from seven years to five 

22          years?  And are there major differences from 

23          the prior contract?  

24                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  The 

                                                                  81

 1          lengths of the contracts are creatures of 

 2          discussions between the parties, and they 

 3          varied over time, depending on bargaining 

 4          unit and time period.  Sometimes 

 5          contracts are three years, such as the one we 

 6          struck with the Professional Employees 

 7          Federation.  Sometimes they're longer.  

 8                 The last NYSCOPBA contract wound up 

 9          being seven years because they were two years 

10          behind the pattern of length of contracts we 

11          had struck with other bargaining units in 

12          2011 and 2012.  And so in order to bring them 

13          up in terms of length of time, we were lucky 

14          enough to secure a seven-year agreement for 

15          that 2009-to-2016 period.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  I understand the 

17          contract is out for ratification.  But are 

18          there any issues that you anticipate might be 

19          a problem in that ratification?  

20                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  We 

21          anticipate that it will be ratified, as does 

22          the union.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Okay, to be 

24          continued.  Thank you.

                                                                  82

 1                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Thank 

 2          you.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEPRIN:  Thank you, 

 4          Mr. Chairman.

 5                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblyman 

 6          DenDekker.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Yeah, I just 

 8          wanted to ask one question.  It has to do 

 9          with when you're doing contract negotiations 

10          with unions, do you ever put any language in 

11          there about if the job that they're currently 

12          doing is eliminated through some action, on 

13          what the future of the employees are?

14                 So specifically we'll talk about 

15          cashless tolling.  So there's I believe 

16          representatives of a certain union that have 

17          people that collect those tolls.  When we go 

18          to cashless tolling, what is going to happen 

19          to all those workers?  

20                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Those 

21          aren't agencies covered by my agreement, so I 

22          can really only speak to what's been in our 

23          agreements.  And in the past, there has been 

24          language, depending on the times and the 

                                                                  83

 1          situations that would occur, that would 

 2          govern what would happen to those employees.  

 3                 In the last round of bargaining with 

 4          the state unions, the 2011 to 2016 period, we 

 5          had basically limited no-layoff provisions, 

 6          whereby we would only let people go by 

 7          abolishing their positions if there were 

 8          certain narrowly defined categories of things 

 9          that occurred during that period.  In other 

10          contracts, that language didn't exist.  But 

11          it's really dependent on the times and the 

12          demands and the wills of the parties.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  So if the 

14          contract is expired and there is no agreement 

15          and technology comes along that then 

16          eliminates the positions, you're under no 

17          obligation to keep the employees?

18                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Generally 

19          speaking, we don't have limitations on our 

20          ability to abolish positions, during the term 

21          of the agreement or after the agreement 

22          expires, unless we've limited ourselves by 

23          agreement.  Under state law, we've got that 

24          ability.  In the 2011 period, we negotiated 

                                                                  84

 1          some limitations on that for the term of that 

 2          agreement.  And currently we have no plans to 

 3          exercise or proposing to exercise it.  

 4                 So it's not really a function of 

 5          necessarily being within the term of the 

 6          contract or it being expiring.  It's possible 

 7          that a layoff could occur from a public 

 8          employer in any time period unless there's an 

 9          agreement to so limit those.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Okay.  So 

11          specifically talking about the proposal of 

12          changing all of the tolls in the State of New 

13          York to a cashless system, I guess my 

14          question is, what is going to happen to all 

15          those employees?  

16                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Again, 

17          I'm not -- those are entities that aren't 

18          represented -- I don't represent those 

19          agencies, I'm limited to, by statute, those 

20          agencies who are the executive branch within 

21          direct Governor's control.  That's who we 

22          cover.

23                 So I don't have any information 

24          regarding those individuals because I haven't 

                                                                  85

 1          been involved in any of those issues.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Okay.  Thank 

 3          you.

 4                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 5                 Assemblyman Colton.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  Yes, thank you, 

 7          Mr. Volforte.

 8                 (Discussion off the record.)

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  All right, I 

10          think we're on.  There's a piece of tape over 

11          it, so we may lose it.  

12                 All right, I was concerned in terms of 

13          some of the changes in the healthcare 

14          premiums for retirees.  Are the changes that 

15          are being proposed in those premiums, will 

16          they apply to the current retirees?  Or is it 

17          future retirees?  

18                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Some 

19          will.  The Medicare Part B cap and the IRMAA 

20          payment, those will apply to current 

21          retirees.  And I believe that the graduated 

22          scale of health insurance premium 

23          contribution for retirees with less than 

24          30 years of service, that will be applied on 

                                                                  86

 1          a prospective basis.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  Okay, so that 

 3          last part will be applied prospectively.  Not 

 4          to the current, but prospectively, which 

 5          means to employees who retire after the date 

 6          that these proposed changes -- if they go 

 7          into effect.

 8                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Correct.  

 9          That's my understanding.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  Okay.  And how 

11          many retirees currently are enrolled in 

12          NYSHIP?

13                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  I -- 

14          unfortunately, I don't have that information.  

15          I could certainly find out.  I would need to 

16          get that from the Department of Civil 

17          Service, because they oversee NYSHIP.  So I 

18          don't deal in the retiree health insurance.  

19          But we could certainly get you that 

20          information.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  Okay.  And when 

22          someone applies to work for New York State, 

23          do you think one of the considerations they 

24          have would be the benefit of healthcare 

                                                                  87

 1          premiums being paid as one of the reasons 

 2          they might apply for New York State 

 3          employment?  

 4                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Sure.  I 

 5          would absolutely expect somebody to look at 

 6          that, and a range of other issues as well.  

 7          But yes.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  And do you think 

 9          that also, in terms of their planning for 

10          financial security and how they're going to, 

11          you know, live their lives, their quality of 

12          life after retirement, a consideration would 

13          be what the healthcare benefits being paid by 

14          the state would have?

15                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Yes.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  All right.  So do 

17          you think it's appropriate to change the 

18          terms that people relied upon when they took 

19          the job, or in terms of their planning for 

20          their own future financial security?  Do you 

21          think that's going to have a negative impact 

22          upon the lives of these retirees and future 

23          retirees?  

24                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Well, it 

                                                                  88

 1          will definitely have an impact.  But the 

 2          benefit that they will still enjoy is 

 3          after -- at the bare minimum, after 10 years 

 4          of service they'll still enjoy a benefit 

 5          where their former employer will pay 50 

 6          percent of their premiums for life.  That's 

 7          still a very valuable benefit.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  But basically 

 9          you're saying that that could be changed also 

10          in the future.  Can that be changed in the 

11          future?  Is it possible that the state might 

12          decide they don't want to offer 50 percent?

13                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  The 

14          current proposal is seeking legislation to do 

15          that.  So it would need to be subject to 

16          legislation.  If this proposal were enacted, 

17          in order to be changed, we'd need legislation 

18          to do that.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  So you could ask 

20          for legislation in the future to change the 

21          50 percent if the Governor or the state so 

22          chose.

23                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  

24          Theoretically.  It could be proposed by the 

                                                                  89

 1          Legislature or the Governor.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  See, I'm 

 3          concerned that, you know, when a condition 

 4          exists and people rely upon it -- and we're 

 5          talking about people and families -- and then 

 6          a proposal is made to start changing it, 

 7          unless there is an extremely grave reason 

 8          that could justify why such a change would be 

 9          made, I have a lot of problems with that.  Is 

10          there any -- has there been any tremendous 

11          increase in the cost of these premiums to the 

12          state that would justify this action?  

13                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Well, the 

14          cost of health insurance continues to rise, 

15          be it for employees or retirees.  And the 

16          state's obligation, the taxpayers' obligation 

17          to pay that employer share, which is 

18          currently set in statute, continues to 

19          increase.  Even though it's a set percentage, 

20          when the overall number goes up, the state 

21          share, as well as the employee share, 

22          continues to increase.  

23                 This is an attempt to balance a 

24          generous benefit by any measure of retiree 

                                                                  90

 1          health insurance for the rest of a person's 

 2          life when -- and compare that to how we 

 3          balance what a person's pension is.  We do 

 4          the same thing with an individual's pension.  

 5          They work for 10 years, and they're 

 6          retirement-eligible, under a defined benefit 

 7          plan they have a certain pension level.  When 

 8          that person reaches, you know, under Tier 4, 

 9          the magic 30 years of service and they're 55 

10          years old, they can retire at approximately 

11          60 percent of their final average salary.

12                 So, you know, we already gradually 

13          treat and graduate the pension benefit; this 

14          is a likening of the health insurance benefit 

15          that those people would also have.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  But once a 

17          pension benefit is granted, I don't see you 

18          being able to change that after the fact.  

19          You would have to -- you could have another 

20          tier that would apply to future employees.  

21          But this is actually changing a benefit that 

22          was in effect when the person was employed 

23          and was existing throughout many years of 

24          their employment in terms of their planning 

                                                                  91

 1          for their old-age quality of life, and now 

 2          it's being changed.  

 3                 And it's applying to the current 

 4          retirees, is that -- am I missing something?  

 5          Or is that correct?

 6                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  While it 

 7          was in place when they were hired, it will 

 8          not -- you know, if they were to retiree 

 9          before the effective date, they would be 

10          covered under the old benefit.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  Before the 

12          effective date of the new change.

13                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Of the 

14          new change, correct.  But after that, you're 

15          correct, they would be covered by this 

16          change.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  And in effect the 

18          state is asking that the -- whatever 

19          increased cost there may be, that that burden 

20          be shifted to the retirees instead of the 

21          state continuing with what they had said 

22          would be the rate when the person was hired, 

23          and even after they're retired.

24                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  I 

                                                                  92

 1          understand what you're saying.  I think our 

 2          position would be we are asking for them to 

 3          pay for that benefit more in proportion to 

 4          their years of service in the pension system, 

 5          the same way we treat that.  As opposed to 

 6          getting a 10-year pension but getting the 

 7          same health insurance and retirement as 

 8          somebody who worked 30, 35 years.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON:  And I understand 

10          again, you know, what you're saying, but I 

11          have some problems with that, and I think the 

12          Legislature has to look at that very 

13          carefully before they approve such a thing.  

14                 All right, thank you.

15                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Thank 

16          you.

17                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I'm sorry, Senator 

19          Savino has some follow-up questions. 

20                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.  Because 

21          the more I listened, the more curious it 

22          gets.  

23                 So this proposal on the differential 

24          contribution rate by retirees, so it would be 

                                                                  93

 1          for future hires?  Or is it for people who 

 2          are currently in the workforce?  

 3                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  I'll have 

 4          to check, but my understanding was is that 

 5          there was a date established when it would 

 6          apply on a prospective basis.  But I'll check 

 7          that and --

 8                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Okay, so let's assume 

 9          it would be only for people hired in the 

10          future, so that it wouldn't affect anybody 

11          currently in the workforce, anybody currently 

12          in the Legislature.  If it did, where's the 

13          savings involved then?  Since you're not 

14          hiring anybody, and you haven't hired anybody 

15          in forever -- except for maybe the 250 people 

16          you're going to bring on in Information 

17          Technology.

18                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Let me 

19          clarify.  When I said current, what I meant 

20          was current retirees.  It could -- it will 

21          apply on a date certain, and it will be 

22          retirees at that point in time, who are 

23          currently --

24                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Okay, so thank you.  

                                                                  94

 1          My trustee aide behind me, Barbara O'Neill, 

 2          who probably knows more than any of us, says 

 3          it would be for future retirees effective 

 4          November of this year -- anybody who retires 

 5          in November of this year.  

 6                 So in essence, then, anybody -- in 

 7          fact, remember the Legislature, because we're 

 8          bound by whatever happens to the state 

 9          workforce.  It would affect us as well, 

10          correct, if we retire?  

11                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  If you 

12          fall within its provisions, yes.

13                 SENATOR SAVINO:  That's interesting.  

14          Because like the state workforce, we all came 

15          in under the same anticipation that you work 

16          a certain number of years, you're guaranteed 

17          certain things.  The guarantees under the 

18          pension system we all understand.  But even 

19          with retiree health benefits, we came in, 

20          just like the rest of the state workforce, 

21          with the expectation that when we retired, we 

22          would be provided benefits that would be paid 

23          by the employer.  

24                 And it's interesting that in a state 

                                                                  95

 1          that prides itself on making sure that we 

 2          provide as many people with access to 

 3          healthcare, particularly through our Medicaid 

 4          system, so that people don't have to worry 

 5          about paying for medication or we reduce 

 6          copays -- we're trying to make sure that as 

 7          many working people in this state have health 

 8          benefits -- we would deprive our own 

 9          workforce of that at the worst possible point 

10          in their life, when they are no longer 

11          earning an income.

12                 See, the pension system works in the 

13          opposite; you start contributing when you're 

14          young to protect you in your old age.  Why 

15          would we turn the clock back on retirees when 

16          they are no longer earning an income and they 

17          cannot contribute and they are most at risk 

18          to become ill and depend upon those health 

19          benefits that they would desperately need?  

20          It seems to be counterproductive to a state 

21          that prides itself on being progressive.  

22                 So I would suggest that you go back to 

23          the drawing board and you might want to 

24          rethink this.  Because at the same time as 

                                                                  96

 1          you guys are presenting this, the Governor is 

 2          also talking about putting forward a plan 

 3          that -- a bill that I carry, called Secure 

 4          Choice Retirement, recognizing that far too 

 5          many people are retiring in this state 

 6          without either a pension, a 401(k) plan, or 

 7          any income security, and they are living in 

 8          poverty.  Why would we contribute to that 

 9          among our own retirees?  It makes no sense.

10                 So I suggest we start over again.  

11          This is not a plan that we should pursue.  It 

12          is the wrong direction for the State of New 

13          York.  Thank you.

14                 One more thing.  Why does this only 

15          apply to the civilian workforce?  

16                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Generally 

17          speaking, the non-civilian workforce has 

18          retirement options available to it before 30 

19          years of service.  And generally speaking, 

20          retirements occur at that -- they reach their 

21          retirement or the minimum full retirement at 

22          those 25 years or 20 years.  So it's not a 

23          like-for-like.

24                 SENATOR SAVINO:  And don't take that 

                                                                  97

 1          to mean I think we should apply it to them 

 2          either.  I don't think we should apply it to 

 3          any of our retirees, period.  

 4                 I think it's the wrong direction for a 

 5          state that, again, prides itself on making 

 6          sure as many people as possible have 

 7          healthcare available to them, because we 

 8          don't want people to be sick and without 

 9          access to healthcare.  

10                 Thank you.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, Senator.

12                 I think we're all set.  So thank you 

13          for testifying today.

14                 GOER INTERIM DIR. VOLFORTE:  Thank 

15          you.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Our next speaker is 

17          Fran Turner, director of legislation and 

18          political action for the Civil service 

19          Employees Association.  

20                 Welcome.

21                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  Good morning.  

22          Thank you.  Good morning.  

23                 I appreciate all of your efforts on 

24          the health insurance piece for retirees, 

                                                                  98

 1          because we agree with you, it is not the 

 2          right way to go.  

 3                 You know, for workers working now, 

 4          they have an expectation of what they're 

 5          going to pay for their healthcare when they 

 6          retire, and that shouldn't be changed in the 

 7          middle of the game.  So we appreciate your 

 8          support.  I don't need to say anything more 

 9          on that.

10                 You know, it's -- I listened to some 

11          of the testimony, and when we talk about the 

12          state workforce in a broad perspective, when 

13          we talk about attriting 136 positions, it is 

14          so not a good snapshot of what is really 

15          going on in a lot of our human service state 

16          agencies.  And in fact, you know, the 

17          Governor likes to say that his administrative 

18          efficiencies have brought down the state 

19          workforce by 10,000 positions.  But that 

20          hasn't come without a great cost to families 

21          looking for services and a great cost to our 

22          workers trying to provide those services.

23                 We tried to provide you with some 

24          information, including the Comptroller's last 

                                                                  99

 1          report on the overtime that is going on in 

 2          these agencies, the human service agencies.  

 3          In particular, OPWDD, over 4 million hours in 

 4          a year, last year, in 2015, of overtime.  Our 

 5          members are working two and three shifts, 

 6          double shifts, a week.  In the past 23 pay 

 7          periods, you'll see on the information we 

 8          provided, over 7,000 of our members in OPWDD 

 9          have worked more than 16 hours in one day.  

10          It's not good for the employees, and it 

11          certainly is not good for the clients that 

12          we're trying to serve and do our best for.

13                 On top of this, what is not included 

14          in there is we have a number of temporary 

15          employees that work in these agencies, both 

16          in OMH and OPWDD.  Temporary employees are 

17          usually hired at 20 hours a week, and it's 

18          usually -- in the past, it was always to fill 

19          in for people that may be out on workers' 

20          comp or to fill in when people are out on 

21          leave for whatever reason.  Now they are 

22          working 40 hours a week.  But that's not 

23          included as overtime, because for temporary 

24          employees it's called extra time.  

                                                                  100

 1                 Now we have per diems that are really 

 2          hourly employees that are working 40 hours a 

 3          week.  And pursuant to our contract, if they 

 4          work 19 consecutive pay periods in a year -- 

 5          which temporary employees and per diems 

 6          are -- they're now entitled to scheduled 

 7          work.  They're now entitled to days off, so 

 8          they have to be scheduled.  So it is no 

 9          longer that they are filling in these gaps, 

10          they're working side by side with us to help 

11          provide the service.

12                 The overtime is preventing our members 

13          from getting home at night.  And we included 

14          a testimonial that is so apropos of our 

15          members.  This woman, Chandra Brown, works -- 

16          she lives in the Bronx, works at Brooklyn 

17          Developmental.  She leaves for work in the 

18          morning -- she has a 4-year-old daughter, 

19          drops her off at daycare so that daycare can 

20          then get her to pre-K.  She goes to work in 

21          the morning never knowing when she is coming 

22          home at night.  Not regular hours, she can't 

23          depend on picking her daughter up, having 

24          dinner with her, spending any time with her.  

                                                                  101

 1                 And this has become constant with our 

 2          members.  And they just want to go home.  

 3          They want to be able to enjoy their families 

 4          and go home.

 5                 But while all of this is going on, we 

 6          are going to attrit 253 jobs in OPWDD.  So 

 7          regardless of whether the state workforce is 

 8          stable, this agency isn't stable.  We still 

 9          have waiting lists of families looking for 

10          services in OPWDD.  I know the Governor took 

11          umbrage with our 11,000 figure, but that's 

12          the figure we've been using for how many 

13          years now.  If it's different, they should 

14          tell us.  

15                 But it is -- I don't think it's too 

16          simplistic a view -- maybe it is, on my part, 

17          to say why are we attriting positions when 

18          actually we should be filling those positions 

19          to help relieve the workforce and to help 

20          provide the better care and the more care?  

21          We'd ask that you'd look at that.  We can't 

22          go on with this overtime.

23                 OMH is pretty much right behind OPWDD 

24          with the overtime problems.  You know, at the 

                                                                  102

 1          same time I should note that workforce 

 2          injuries in these two agencies account for 40 

 3          percent of the workforce injuries that are 

 4          compensable in the state agencies in the past 

 5          two years.  So it has resulted in overtime, 

 6          injuries, loss of quality of care, and we're 

 7          still attriting positions.  We attriting more 

 8          positions than OMH because we're bringing 

 9          down more residential beds.  

10                 You know, the new model of care for 

11          OMH is supportive housing.  I don't know what 

12          supports they provide, because what we see on 

13          the local government side is that whenever 

14          state beds are taken down, the local 

15          governments are burdened with more local 

16          costs and local problems.  And if you talk to 

17          any of your county sheriffs, they will tell 

18          you that every year they go to their 

19          legislative bodies, they're asking for more 

20          money for treatment, in the jails, of the 

21          mentally ill.  Our prisons see the same 

22          thing.  

23                 So I'm not sure what supportive 

24          housing is.  I'm not sure bringing down these 

                                                                  103

 1          beds are the right way to go.  But then 

 2          again, in OMH, even with the overtime, we're 

 3          attriting 300 positions.

 4                 So it's not good enough to look at the 

 5          stable workforce as a whole if we're going to 

 6          ignore these human service agencies that are 

 7          bearing the brunt of lack of staff, of -- I 

 8          want to take a step back, because, you know, 

 9          years ago it used to be that the state worker 

10          jobs were the step for people out of poverty.  

11          And as we talk about poverty and these 

12          poverty programs across the state and some of 

13          our cities, we're not considering this 

14          anymore, apparently, and we're not including 

15          this as part of the plan to lift them up.  

16                 This was the starting point.  This is 

17          where they could get a good stable job, enter 

18          the workforce, possibly continue with 

19          education and move forward and move up that 

20          ladder and raise themselves out of poverty.  

21          We don't think of these jobs, even when we 

22          show a need, that we need them --  and I'm 

23          not saying create a job just for that 

24          purpose.  But when you've got a need and 

                                                                  104

 1          you've got an area that you can help people 

 2          lift themselves out of poverty, it's foolish 

 3          not to look at that and to fill these 

 4          positions.  It's just foolish.

 5                 I would be remiss if I didn't say that 

 6          CSEA is supporting the millionaire's tax.  In 

 7          fact, we would support a true millionaire's 

 8          tax.  We feel that we need the revenue.  And 

 9          as everybody is worried what might happen on 

10          the federal level, it is not revenue that we 

11          want to go without.  Because if in fact we 

12          are cut on federal funds, then we're going to 

13          have to go back and make -- you're going to 

14          have to go back and make very difficult 

15          decisions that we shouldn't leave ourselves 

16          in that position.

17                 Besides that, I see a lot of need 

18          across the state.  And if we can't address 

19          these needs because we don't have the 

20          revenue, then we're not helping ourselves.  

21                 One area -- because I see I've got a 

22          zero on the clock, one area that I do want to 

23          mention.  When we talked about local 

24          governments bearing a lot more of the 

                                                                  105

 1          shifting costs to treat the mentally ill, and 

 2          in a place where they shouldn't be treated, 

 3          on top of this we are so adamantly opposed to 

 4          the Governor's proposal to have these local 

 5          governments once again look at mergers, 

 6          consolidations, shared services, and to 

 7          actually have the punitive effect of tying 

 8          the AIM payments to this proposal.  

 9                 I think there are four or five 

10          proposals now in different pots of money for 

11          municipal mergers, shared services, 

12          consolidations.  And I would only point out 

13          that all of these proposed dissolutions -- 

14          except for one that I can think of -- have 

15          failed.  People like their local services.  

16          People are happy with their local services.  

17          We don't get that many complaints about town 

18          and village taxes or county taxes.  

19                 As a matter of fact, just recently we 

20          had a budget fight going on in Troy where 

21          they wanted to exceed the tax cap which is 

22          also in place, in order to save 90 jobs.  And 

23          the general public came in -- one of the 

24          proposals was, well, we're going to have to 

                                                                  106

 1          get rid of garbage collection.  The general 

 2          public came in and said:  Raise our taxes a 

 3          hundred dollars, we don't care, because 

 4          you're going to cost us more money if you get 

 5          rid of garbage pickup.  Because private 

 6          garbage pickup would have been $400 a year 

 7          for families.

 8                 So we think that the local governments 

 9          are doing a good job.  The citizens want 

10          those local services.  They want their police 

11          and fire near them so that they can respond.  

12          And we don't think that this is necessary 

13          when there's all these other incentives out 

14          there that are currently in the budget also 

15          being funded that do the exact same thing.  

16          So perhaps we need to listen more to what the 

17          citizens of this state want.

18                 So because my time is up, I don't want 

19          to go over, but I'll be glad to answer any 

20          questions.

21                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

22          much.  

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, Director 

24          Turner, for those words.  

                                                                  107

 1                 And I applaud you for your concern 

 2          over our most vulnerable citizens falling 

 3          through the cracks, particularly at OPWDD and 

 4          OMH.  And I think we need to take a closer 

 5          look as a legislature at those issues.  

 6                 I think you also know my concern over 

 7          what's happened at OCFS over the past several 

 8          years.  And this is an ongoing problem where 

 9          we have huge workers' compensation issues 

10          because people are being injured on the job.  

11          And I know there was recently an issue at 

12          Brookwood.  Could you please explain a little 

13          bit more about what happened at Brookwood?

14                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  You know, the 

15          article is in the TU this morning.  So we had 

16          a -- of course they're short-staffing there 

17          too, let me start with that.  Because, you 

18          know, you have a different clientele there, 

19          and they are 15- and 16-year olds or younger 

20          that, but for their age, would be in the 

21          criminal justice system.  

22                 So at Brookwood there was an incident 

23          where one of the clients -- who had just 

24          gotten there, in fact, I believe from a 

                                                                  108

 1          mental health institute.  And he picked up a 

 2          sign and went after one of our employees, who 

 3          ended up in the hospital with 20 stitches and 

 4          swelling on his brain.  And the picture is in 

 5          today's TU.  

 6                 And the problem is we have no control 

 7          over when they act out.  Right?  There are 

 8          no -- we are not allowed to touch them, we 

 9          are not allowed to restrain them.  The 

10          protocol is to try to talk them down.  But 

11          this particular client seems to have had some 

12          other issues, mental illness issues, going on 

13          at the same time, so it wasn't practical.  

14                 But in most cases, it's not practical 

15          to talk them down.  It's just -- it is not 

16          working.  And these protocols were developed 

17          over time, because obviously you don't want 

18          to be abusive, you don't want to get reported 

19          to the Justice Center.  But it is -- either 

20          you need to put the staff in there to make 

21          sure you have a backup if a client is coming 

22          after you, which doesn't look like it's going 

23          to happen, or you need to have a different 

24          protocol for how you approach a patient that 

                                                                  109

 1          becomes violent.  

 2                 And it's not just violence towards our 

 3          members, it could be towards another patient.  

 4          And if we allowed that to happen, chances are 

 5          we're going to get reported to the Justice 

 6          Center.  Right?

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That's what's been 

 8          going on, unfortunately, is that as you know 

 9          so well, there have been incredible spikes in 

10          youth-on-youth violence, youth-on-staff 

11          violence.  And it seems like it's all 

12          one-sided because of the change in policies.  

13                 I did see the Times Union article this 

14          morning, and I took note of the fact that the 

15          Justice Center is now fining employees.  

16          Could you talk about that?

17                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  You know, I 

18          don't think the fines necessarily came from 

19          the Justice Center.  I think they were 

20          already in place within the agencies.  But 

21          obviously the Justice Center is using that as 

22          a penalty for when they find that action that 

23          got reported was not appropriate.  

24                 I do want to add something, Senator.  

                                                                  110

 1          Let me go back.  Because over the weekend, 

 2          there was four more incidents at the 

 3          Brookwood Detention Center that I know we 

 4          have talked to Senator Marchione on, who's 

 5          been very helpful.  And again, two of the 

 6          injuries ended up at the hospital being 

 7          treated.  

 8                 But the fines are just one more form 

 9          of punishment.  And, you know, you're not 

10          talking about big state salaries, right?  Our 

11          average state salary is $45,000.  So our 

12          members are not going to put themselves in a 

13          position to get fined, because they can't 

14          afford it, number one.  Number two, 

15          chances are they'll lose their jobs.  So they 

16          stand there and they get -- they sort of have 

17          to take it.  And there's nobody to back them 

18          up because there's not enough staff to back 

19          them up.  

20                 So I was kind of surprised about the 

21          fines as well.  But like I said, I understand 

22          the agency had been doing that prior to the 

23          Justice Center adopting that as a penalty.  

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  It would be 

                                                                  111

 1          interesting, however, to see if there's been 

 2          an increase in the amount of fines.

 3                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  I will check 

 4          that out and get back to you.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That would be 

 6          great.  Thank you, Fran.  

 7                 Okay, I'll probably think of some more 

 8          questions, but I'd like to turn it over to 

 9          the Assembly right now so that they have a 

10          chance.

11                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblyman Weprin.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Yes, thank you, 

13          Mr. Chairman.  

14                 Ms. Turner, good -- good morning 

15          still, I guess.

16                 The Bernard Fineson Center is in my 

17          Assembly district, and I know CSEA as well as 

18          families of, you know, the residents at the 

19          Bernard Fineson Center are very concerned 

20          about what's going to happen to some of these 

21          residents and who's going to pick up the 

22          slack.  

23                 And also, I haven't really been given 

24          accurate information about when they're 

                                                                  112

 1          actually scheduled to close.  I know they've 

 2          been talking about closing over a number of 

 3          years.  Can you give me an update from your 

 4          point of view what's happening there and the 

 5          timing?

 6                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  Well, sometimes 

 7          you have more information than we do.  But we 

 8          have the same information that you do right 

 9          now.

10                 But I will tell you this.  The 

11          attritions that are coming out of the OPWDD 

12          system, we are under the impression that they 

13          are coming from the closing of Bernard 

14          Fineson.  So I would assume that that is 

15          happening this year.  But I don't have that 

16          information directly, and we don't have 

17          confirmation of that.

18                 You know, it's just like when they 

19          bring down the beds in MH, they can't tell us 

20          where they're bringing down the beds but they 

21          assure us they have a plan for community 

22          services.  Which it's kind of hard to balance 

23          that.  So we get as much information as you 

24          may get, and sometimes we hear from you what 

                                                                  113

 1          the timeline is.  So I can't help you there, 

 2          I'm sorry.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  If I hear 

 4          anything further, and I will inquire, I will 

 5          be glad to let you know.

 6                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  Appreciate 

 7          that.

 8                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator?

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

10          much.

11                 Senator Savino.

12                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.

13                 Fran, always good to see you.  

14                 I just have a quick question because I 

15          want some clarity.  You talked about the use 

16          of per diem employees and part-time workers.  

17          Are they in your titles in the bargaining 

18          unit?

19                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  Well, they're 

20          working -- they're doing the work of our 

21          titles, yes.  Are they necessarily in the 

22          bargaining unit?  No.  But they do get the 

23          benefits, if they work so long, that are 

24          included in our contract.  Because we do have 

                                                                  114

 1          a provision there.

 2                 SENATOR SAVINO:  But are they state 

 3          workers?

 4                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  I mean, they're 

 5          considered -- do we take care of them and do 

 6          we consider them our employees?  Yes.

 7                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Okay.  Because I know 

 8          in the past there was a tremendous 

 9          overreliance on temp workers as well from 

10          some of these contracts, contractors like --

11                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  Okay.  Yeah, 

12          that's like the Kelly Services.  That is 

13          different than these temporary workers.  

14          They're right in the agencies working in our 

15          job titles.  So we do represent them.

16                 SENATOR SAVINO:  And how many are 

17          there, do you know?

18                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  You know what, 

19          there was some figures -- and I'm going to 

20          have to go back and look.  But I'm going to 

21          say probably in OPWDD, between temporary 

22          workers and per diems, you're probably close 

23          to a thousand.  Maybe 800.

24                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Amazing.

                                                                  115

 1                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  Yeah, according 

 2          to the sheets I was looking at.

 3                 You know, they have different names 

 4          for everything so it's kind of hard to figure 

 5          out who's who.  Right?  And who's a full-time 

 6          equivalent, who's a part-timer working 40 

 7          hours, and who's a per diem working overtime.

 8                 SENATOR SAVINO:  It's interesting, 

 9          because during the Giuliani administration in 

10          the city, it was an old sleight of hand they 

11          would use.  They would hire people for 

12          whatever the positions were on per-diem 

13          status, because they didn't show up in city 

14          head counts.  So you could claim that the 

15          head count was flat, that in fact the 

16          agencies were not growing, because they 

17          didn't count them as employees.  When in fact 

18          they were hiring people and putting them in 

19          full-time-equivalent positions, but keeping 

20          them in part-time status as per-diem 

21          employees.

22                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  Same thing.  It 

23          is the same thing.  They must have taken a 

24          lesson from the city, because it's the same 

                                                                  116

 1          thing.

 2                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Yes.  That's how you 

 3          hide the fact that you're actually hiring 

 4          people.  But per-diem employees don't get the 

 5          same protection under Civil Service Law, not 

 6          the full protections.

 7                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  Correct.  

 8          That's correct.

 9                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Okay.  That's what I 

10          wanted to make sure we were talking about, 

11          that category of worker.

12                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  You know, if 

13          you want to talk about the Civil Service Law, 

14          I mean temporary employees aren't supposed to 

15          work more than six months, right?

16                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Right.

17                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  But if we 

18          complain, they'll get rid of the temporary 

19          employees.  And believe me, we cannot do our 

20          jobs without them.  I mean, it will be much 

21          worse than it is now.  So that is not our 

22          intent.  We want to represent them.  

23                 But, you know, it used to be that 

24          people came in, took a temporary job because 

                                                                  117

 1          you could look forward to a permanent 

 2          full-time job.  And the work is there, the 

 3          need is there, but we seem to keep attriting 

 4          positions in these agencies.

 5                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Right.  And I'm sure, 

 6          as we get to the agencies, we'll delve deeper 

 7          into this.  

 8                 I have a particular concern about 

 9          OPWDD, because -- not just from the 

10          downsizing of your workforce, we are seeing 

11          the effects on the nonprofit sector that also 

12          services this population.  The increase in 

13          the minimum wage and the failure to provide 

14          the funding to fund those jobs -- because 

15          again, they don't make any money, it's a 

16          pass-through.  We're seeing tremendous 

17          turnover in their agencies as well.  Which is 

18          only -- in my opinion should increase hiring 

19          on the state side to pick up the protection 

20          of -- the population is not going to be 

21          protected if you have tremendous turnover in 

22          these voluntary agencies as well.  

23                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  There's no 

24          question about it, Senator.  And, you know, 

                                                                  118

 1          we do represent some of the not-for-profits 

 2          in the city, and they're getting pushed with 

 3          more and more clients that the state is 

 4          pushing out from state operated services.  

 5          Right?  They're getting pushed and pushed and 

 6          pushed.  

 7                 So not only can they not handle the 

 8          volume, but you're absolutely right, the 

 9          workers -- the agencies can't -- the 

10          not-for-profits can't pay for this increase 

11          in minimum wage.  And certainly the state has 

12          to step in, or how are we going to care for 

13          all these people?  

14                 You know, last year many of you, and 

15          especially the Senate was so helpful in 

16          getting us money for the care pilots.  Do you 

17          remember that money for respite services?  

18          Which the parents across the state have been 

19          begging for respite services.  

20                 Just as an aside, nobody knows where 

21          the money went, and those respite services 

22          never came up.  And the expansion of the care 

23          pilots, which is supposed to be the new way 

24          that we want to deliver services, that are 

                                                                  119

 1          very successful from both the client's point 

 2          of view and our members' point of view, 

 3          there's no expansion.  

 4                 So I'm not sure -- I'm not sure what 

 5          their plan is, except to get rid of state 

 6          operations, have the not-for-profits pick up 

 7          more -- and they're having a problem doing 

 8          that.  They're doing the best they can, 

 9          but -- you know, the resources aren't 

10          necessarily following the client to the 

11          not-for-profit.  

12                 SENATOR SAVINO:  That's true.  As I 

13          said, when we get to the agencies themselves, 

14          I'm sure we're going to take a much deeper 

15          look at the effect of both the reductions in 

16          the state workforce, how it's affecting those 

17          agencies as well as the nonprofit sector that 

18          provides the support services to the 

19          agencies.  

20                 Thank you, Fran.

21                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  That's good.

22                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblywoman 

23          Rozic.

24                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROZIC:  Thank you, 

                                                                  120

 1          Mr. Chairman.  

 2                 Good to see you again.

 3                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  You as well.

 4                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROZIC:  I'm wondering if 

 5          you can speak to the childcare section of 

 6          your testimony a bit more and talk about what 

 7          appropriate funding or adequate funding would 

 8          look like and what this year's Executive 

 9          Budget does with childcare.

10                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  I'd be glad to.

11                 So we represent childcare providers 

12          who provide childcare in their homes or 

13          sometimes in the clients' homes, and we have 

14          around 10,000 of them in the upstate area.  

15                 The Governor's budget is flat.  

16          Although he does play around with some local 

17          money, I'm not sure if he is grabbing some 

18          local money to make it flat -- it's a little 

19          bit confusing.  But there is no increase in 

20          childcare funds.  

21                 So, you know, we always talk about 

22          these economic development programs, we want 

23          to put people to work, we want to create 

24          jobs.  And one of the biggest obstacles for 

                                                                  121

 1          lower-paying jobs and families is that 

 2          affordable, accessible healthcare.  And if 

 3          you don't keep funding it, you actually cut 

 4          off slots, right, because the counties are 

 5          not going to make up the difference.  

 6                 There is no new funding in this budget 

 7          for childcare resources this year.  On top of 

 8          that, we do have the federal block grant that 

 9          is going to require more inspections.  It's 

10          going to require more workers to do more 

11          inspections in OCFS.  It is certainly going 

12          to put a bigger burden on the daycare 

13          providers, because now they're going to have 

14          to get FBI checks, which are quite -- more 

15          extensive than what we require now.  And they 

16          estimate -- this is OCFS estimating -- it 

17          could cost New York State close to 

18          $200 million to comply with these new regs.  

19                 Now, they don't all come into effect 

20          all at once, and the state apparently has 

21          applied for waivers.  But there is no 

22          recognition in this budget for increased 

23          access to childcare or for compliance with 

24          the new regulations.  It's flat.

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 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROZIC:  Right.  And so 

 2          now let's talk about the federal block 

 3          grants, because there is a new 

 4          administration.  Any sense of how that would 

 5          come down and impact our state or whether or 

 6          not these block grants would change?

 7                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  I wish I knew 

 8          the answer to that.  I can't tell -- you know 

 9          what, you worry about the nutrition programs 

10          and you worry about the block grant coming, I 

11          don't know -- and then you worry about the 

12          regulations, are the regulations going to go 

13          away.  Which, okay, you know what?  Maybe.  

14                 We have no indication whatsoever at 

15          this point in time.  I think it's all still 

16          very new.  And I think our international is 

17          exploring some of those topics with the 

18          current Congress.  And if I get any 

19          information, I will let you know.  

20                 But if they start pulling back on the 

21          block grant, then we're going to lose more 

22          access to childcare.  Right?  There's not 

23          going to be enough funds for access to 

24          childcare.  And access is a problem.  For 

                                                                  123

 1          working families, it is a problem.  Daycare 

 2          is expensive, very expensive.  I'll let you 

 3          know if I hear anything else.

 4                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROZIC:  And I would just 

 5          agree with you in the sentiments of human 

 6          capital also being a very important part of 

 7          our economic development programs across the 

 8          state.  And I would love to work with you on 

 9          some of that.  

10                 Thank you, Mr. Chair.

11                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  Thank you.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I think that's 

13          everyone, right?  Anyone else?

14                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  Thank you.

15                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  That's it.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Well, thank 

17          you, Director Turner.

18                 CSEA DIRECTOR TURNER:  You're welcome.

19                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

20          much.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Our next speaker is 

22          from the New York State Professional 

23          Employees Federation.  And that's Greg 

24          Amorosi, legislative director, and he will be 

                                                                  124

 1          joined by Scott Lorey.

 2                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  We've also had some 

 3          new people joining with us, Assemblywoman 

 4          Fahy and Assemblywoman Richardson.

 5                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  I think 

 6          we're officially into afternoon, so -- 

 7          barely.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I guess we are.

 9                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  So good 

10          afternoon.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  You lose track of 

12          time when you're having so much fun.

13                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Time 

14          flies, right, when you're having fun.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Yes.  

16                 Well, welcome.  I'm so happy to have 

17          all of you here.  And we look forward to your 

18          testimony.

19                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Thank you.  

20                 First of all, I would like to offer 

21          apologies and greetings from President Wayne 

22          Spence.  He intended to be here today, but he 

23          is participating in an SEIU Executive Board 

24          meeting down in Washington, D.C., so he was 

                                                                  125

 1          unable to make it.  I know he had planned to 

 2          come.  So I've been asked to pinch hit.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Give him my 

 4          regards, please.

 5                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  My name is 

 6          Greg Amorosi, for those of you I haven't met.  

 7          I'm the legislative director of PEF.  I'm 

 8          also a PEF member.  With me today is Scott 

 9          Lorey, he's a colleague.  And we've been 

10          joined by Vice President Nikki Brate.  

11                 I will briefly touch on -- we have a 

12          bunch of things to go over, and I know we 

13          have -- is that right?  Am I already four 

14          minutes in?  Holy smokes.  

15                 All right.  I'd like to thank you for 

16          the opportunity to speak to you today on 

17          behalf of our 54,000 members.  As you all 

18          know, we provide critical services in many 

19          areas across the state.  

20                 While the Executive Budget doesn't 

21          contain any planned layoffs and any newly 

22          announced facility closures, it does contain 

23          proposals which, as you've touched on already 

24          today, circumvent the civil service process 

                                                                  126

 1          and prevent promotional opportunities for 

 2          many of our members.  We continue to be 

 3          concerned by the state's reliance on 

 4          independent consultants and private 

 5          consultants to do work that we believe that 

 6          our members are better suited to perform.  

 7                 I will highlight several areas of 

 8          concern in the budget.  We have more, but I 

 9          know I won't be able to get to them.  First 

10          and foremost, I'd like to talk about the 

11          Office of Information Technology Services.  

12                 And again, I've been paying attention 

13          to the testimony as it unfolded today.  As 

14          you are all very well aware, the civil 

15          service system was created to establish a 

16          system where jobs were given to individuals 

17          based on merit and fitness, and not based on 

18          who they know.  Unfortunately, we've seen a 

19          developing dangerous pattern of the state not 

20          providing the appropriate civil service exams 

21          for either employment or promotional 

22          opportunities.  

23                 In our ITS department alone, in two 

24          short years we have lost 3 percent of our 

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 1          workforce, and this year's budget continues 

 2          to propose the elimination of an additional 

 3          179 positions through attrition.  At the same 

 4          time, the number of private consultants has 

 5          expanded five times, going from 159 to 808, 

 6          despite the fact that by our estimates they 

 7          cost up to 60 percent more than our 

 8          comparable state workers.  

 9                 Again, as was addressed earlier in 

10          earlier testimony, we are very concerned with 

11          the proposal in this year's budget which 

12          would effectively insert 250 private 

13          consultants ahead of our workforce -- 

14          frankly, folks that we've had on waiting 

15          lists who have taken exams and who have been 

16          waiting for a chance for promotional 

17          opportunity.  We feel that inserting these 

18          folks ahead of ours is patently unfair.  

19                 We also believe -- and I know this was 

20          brought up earlier -- we firmly believe that 

21          our people are qualified to fill many of 

22          those positions, if not all of them.  We also 

23          have asked for training opportunities to give 

24          our folks who might be just short of 

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 1          qualifications to get the training they need 

 2          to bring them up and give them more 

 3          promotional opportunities.

 4                 We don't believe that placing these 

 5          private consultants ahead of our state 

 6          employees sends the right message -- and it 

 7          in fact kills morale at our facilities.  At 

 8          the risk of stating the obvious, we would ask 

 9          that you not allow the outsourcing of public 

10          service tasks to be counted as private job 

11          growth and job creation.

12                 I'm going to move on to design/build.  

13          That's another one of our -- another favorite 

14          that we've been battling every year in the 

15          Executive Budget.  We don't like it for many 

16          reasons, but primarily it's because we 

17          believe that our members, again, can do these 

18          jobs for less money, save the taxpayer 

19          dollars, and do a better job.

20                 We also don't believe that having 

21          power concentrated in a single entity, giving 

22          a single entity the ability to oversee 

23          design, construction and inspection of a 

24          project, is necessarily the best way to go.

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 1                 We feel that the design/build has 

 2          allowed for entities to skimp on materials 

 3          and take shortcuts that shorten the life span 

 4          of projects and potentially endanger the 

 5          lives of New Yorkers.  We also feel that any 

 6          implied advantage realized by the 

 7          design/build process is quickly offset by the 

 8          costly procurement process that comes with 

 9          it, and the need for increased owner input 

10          and decreased control of the projects.  And 

11          once again, we believe that our people can do 

12          the same jobs for better value.

13                 Moving on to the SUNY hospitals -- and 

14          again, I can start this with thank you to all 

15          of you, because the recent history is you 

16          save us every year on this.  

17                 As you know, our public teaching 

18          hospitals perform vital services in the 

19          community, yet once again we are targeted for 

20          an $18.6 million budget hit in this year's 

21          budget.  Our SUNY hospitals -- I know I'm 

22          preaching to the choir -- our SUNY hospitals 

23          are a hallmark of excellence and provide 

24          vital medical education and research.  And 

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 1          again, thank you very much for restoring the 

 2          cuts year after year.  And just a little 

 3          foreshadowing, I'll be back asking for help 

 4          again this year.

 5                 I will skip over most of the OMH and 

 6          OPWDD, because Fran Turner did such a good 

 7          job.  The problems they face, we have very 

 8          similar problems.  We have bed reductions, we 

 9          have -- we're continually faced with mandated 

10          community transitions.  In the budget this 

11          year, we're going to lose 253 positions at 

12          OPWDD through attrition; we're going to lose 

13          353 at OMH.  

14                 And forgive me for not -- this is my 

15          first time up here.  Do all the zeroes mean 

16          that I'm theoretically out of time?

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  You can keep going.

18                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Thank you.  

19          If that's a yes, then all right, thank you.

20                 And I know, Assemblyman Weprin, you 

21          had a question regarding Bernard Fineson.  We 

22          are very concerned.  We have members there, 

23          we're very concerned with the closure.  And 

24          it is slated, our information has it slated 

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 1          to close at the end of March this year.  So 

 2          it's coming.  

 3                 So we're very concerned with that, and 

 4          we would ask the Legislature and the 

 5          Executive to hold off on that until we can 

 6          have a comprehensive plan put in place to 

 7          make sure that the folks that are there are 

 8          going to places where they can get the care 

 9          that they have been receiving and they will 

10          continue to need and deserve.

11                 Also, another issue that's near and 

12          dear to our hearts is we would ask your 

13          help -- and I know that many of you have last 

14          year helped us continue to block the planned 

15          transfer of children's inpatient services 

16          from the Western New York Children's 

17          Psychiatric Center, which is located -- I 

18          don't know if you've been there, many of you 

19          probably haven't -- but it's in a very scenic 

20          setting in suburban West Seneca.  The 

21          proposal is to move these kids into the 

22          downtown Buffalo Psychiatric Center, which 

23          houses adults, some of which are sex 

24          offenders.  Again, don't get me started on, 

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 1          you know, the merits of that.

 2                 Moving along to another one of my 

 3          favorites, the Justice Center.  As you all 

 4          know, the Justice Center, while performing 

 5          the vital task of overseeing cases of abuse 

 6          and neglect in state facilities, our 

 7          experience with the Justice Center has been 

 8          not -- I'll say not constructive.  It has had 

 9          a dramatic impact, particularly on our 

10          healthcare providers within our facilities.  

11                 And again, it's been touched on in the 

12          testimony here today, we have situations 

13          where, to start off, we already have staffing 

14          issues in our facilities because we are 

15          unable to compete with the private-sector 

16          money.  So we have nurses that come in who 

17          are already at a disadvantage financially to 

18          their counterparts in the private sector, and 

19          we have a situation where -- and I don't know 

20          how familiar you all are with the Justice 

21          Center, but we have situations where 

22          allegations -- and again, I'm not suggesting 

23          that it's not important things be 

24          investigated, but it's almost that the mere 

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 1          hint of any impropriety, our -- we have staff 

 2          that are immediately suspended, and they are 

 3          suspended with months with -- you know, it is 

 4          with pay.  

 5                 And the problem with our nurses is 

 6          particularly -- if a finding turns out to be 

 7          founded, they are effectively done being a 

 8          nurse, because it takes them off the list for 

 9          eligible -- to be healthcare providers 

10          anywhere in the country.  So they're done.

11                 So while this is happening, our nurses 

12          are suspended, it exacerbates staffing 

13          shortages that we're already dealing with, 

14          and it's just -- it just intensifies the 

15          problem.  And I think it was addressed 

16          earlier, we have situations where people 

17          don't -- a nurse is getting assaulted, 

18          security doesn't want to get 

19          involved because -- and again, I don't know 

20          how familiar you are with this, but anyone 

21          who has anything to do with an incident has 

22          to fill out a report.  If they do not, they 

23          run afoul of the Justice Center, and they can 

24          be charged.  So you have a situation where -- 

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 1          say I'm there with six of my colleagues and I 

 2          have an interaction with a staff member, the 

 3          other five of us have to write a report.  

 4          Otherwise, we're all in trouble.

 5                 And as a public defender -- not to get 

 6          into me -- I'm very troubled by the Justice 

 7          Center's approach, which at least to my eyes 

 8          appears to be guilty until proven innocent.  

 9          There's very little due process.  And my 

10          folks and I know Fran's folks echo the 

11          sentiment.  You know, the merest hint of 

12          suspicion and you're done, you're suspended.

13                 So I'll move off that and move on to 

14          DOCCS very quickly -- and I know, I 

15          apologize.  DOCCS, we're concerned.  There's 

16          been an uptick in violence in facilities, 

17          which concerns us.  And again, I touched on 

18          this briefly with the Justice Center remarks, 

19          we have real recruitment and retention 

20          problems with our professional staff.  Good 

21          luck seeing a dentist if you're in a state 

22          correctional facility, as we can't hire them, 

23          we just -- we can't attract them.  Our nurses 

24          are brutally understaffed.  DOCCS has the 

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 1          highest mandatory overtime violations of any 

 2          agency.  That's a problem.

 3                 Moving on to our parole officers, you 

 4          know, we feel like we are short on parole 

 5          officers.  As an example, one example alone, 

 6          in Monroe County we have 33 parole officers 

 7          monitoring 1800 parolees.  Not great.

 8                 We have concerns regarding the 

 9          correction reform bill that's in the budget 

10          this year.  As you may or may not know, it 

11          places a lot of authority in the DOCCS 

12          commissioner to basically -- well, I won't 

13          say circumvent, but go around the Parole 

14          Board in terms of setting his own terms and 

15          conditions for post-release supervision.  We 

16          feel as though this will dramatically 

17          decrease the number of parole officers, and 

18          we think it's not a good idea.  The Parole 

19          Board was left out of the merger when DOCCS 

20          merged for a reason.

21                 Lastly -- and again, this has been 

22          discussed, but I will reiterate what's been 

23          said down here this morning.  We are very 

24          much opposed to the -- we call it a -- in a 

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 1          way, it's a retirement incentive, the retiree 

 2          healthcare initiatives, because we believe -- 

 3          and I don't know if anyone has -- I'm sure 

 4          you guys have thought of this, but we firmly 

 5          believe that this could have a very dramatic 

 6          effect that no one really seems to be talking 

 7          about, which is an exodus from state service.

 8                 I mean, if you're faced with, you 

 9          know, should I work a few more years or do I 

10          need to get out -- because in my 

11          understanding, the way the language is 

12          written is if you're not out by I think it's 

13          October of 2017, you are then on a sliding 

14          scale in your retirement.  It's almost -- 

15          it's the same thing as with your pension.  

16          The longer you're there, the more it's worth.  

17          But now, in this situation, if you're not 

18          there for the requisite amount of time, the 

19          more you pay for your retirement.

20                 So we believe -- again, as it's been 

21          echoed on the dais -- that it's not fair, 

22          people that entered state service with a 

23          certain expectation, changing that in 

24          midstream is patently unfair, and we think it 

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 1          has the real potential to decimate an 

 2          already-depleted workforce.

 3                 And that's it.  And again, I've only 

 4          gone over a few of our concerns, but those 

 5          are the highlights.  I'll be happy to answer 

 6          questions.  And certainly I'll be coming to 

 7          see you all in the weeks and months ahead.

 8                 Thank you very much for the 

 9          opportunity to speak.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

11          much.  

12                 I have some questions, but I think 

13          I'll try to recover from my coughing jag 

14          first, so I'll let Senator Savino go first.

15                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.  

16                 I just want to get some clarity on 

17          these IT positions, because I'm still 

18          confused.  So the state -- you know, we went 

19          through this process of creating insourcing 

20          for IT professionals a few years ago.  The 

21          Legislature passed a law because we 

22          recognized the value of having our own Geek 

23          Squad, so to speak.  And now we've created 

24          the civil service test for these positions, 

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 1          and there's an outstanding list, isn't there?  

 2                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Correct.

 3                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Okay.  So what is 

 4          profoundly different about these positions 

 5          that they want to fill that -- from the 

 6          individuals who took the test?  

 7                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  That's an 

 8          excellent question, I know.  

 9                 We believe that our people can do the 

10          jobs, so --

11                 PEF VP BRATE:  I would like to add on 

12          to that.

13                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, Nikki.

14                 PEF VP BRATE:  I'm Nikki Brate, PEF 

15          vice president.

16                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Pull the microphone a 

17          little closer, Nikki.

18                 PEF VP BRATE:  Nikki Brate, PEF vice 

19          president.  

20                 There is nothing, and that's the 

21          disturbing part.  We can't seem to extract 

22          exactly the skills that they're looking for.  

23          And we know we have repeatedly spent millions 

24          of dollars doing skills assessments, 

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 1          different variations of that, that really 

 2          gave us useless data.  So if they don't know 

 3          what their workforce is now, I don't really 

 4          understand how they're going to add into 

 5          that, because they don't understand the 

 6          quality of talent that they have within 

 7          itself.  

 8                 So in other words, they're saying, 

 9          okay, we need a highly skilled workforce, but 

10          they don't have anything measurable that says 

11          that we don't have those skills, because they 

12          don't know what their 3200-plus people have.

13                 And other part that's very concerning 

14          about this particular piece of legislation is 

15          the fact that their help desk that they 

16          privatized is still in flux.  So you're 

17          looking at 179 cuts, you're looking at 

18          throwing in 250 when they haven't even placed 

19          the ones that have been displaced from the 

20          help desk.  

21                 So they really need to come up with a 

22          plan and articulate that, which they have not 

23          done.  And without any really data or any 

24          analysis to say that they don't have the 

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 1          skills, it's just simply foolish to throw 

 2          anything else in, because our members do have 

 3          the skills.  And from what I read in the 

 4          purpose of the legislation, is it says to get 

 5          the skills, when they don't know what the 

 6          skills are.

 7                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Okay.  So of the 250 

 8          people that they want to hire in this new 

 9          title for a job that eventually will have a 

10          civil service exam requirement for it, and a 

11          five-year appointment, is it a represented 

12          title?

13                 PEF VP BRATE:  We don't know.  It says 

14          Salary Grade 25, 27, 29.  But it doesn't say 

15          whether they'd be M/C or PEF.  It doesn't 

16          specify that.  Because, right, it could be 

17          either, number one.  

18                 And number two, it's starting at that 

19          high level.  And if they're saying that they 

20          don't have the experience, having experience 

21          in working in and understanding the systems 

22          that we have in place now, you need to come 

23          in -- if you think about fundamental 

24          succession planning, you develop them skills 

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 1          as you go up.  Because those positions 

 2          particularly are management positions.  

 3          You're managing that.  So if you're coming 

 4          into state government from the private 

 5          sector, not understanding what state 

 6          government is, they're disadvantaged anyhow.  

 7                 And as it is, I'll go back to the 

 8          privatization of the help desk.  You know who 

 9          had to train the help desk?  Our members had 

10          to train their replacements.  The same 

11          situation will happen with this.

12                 SENATOR SAVINO:  It's very perplexing.  

13          It doesn't seem to make any sense to me.  

14                 And so there haven't been any 

15          discussions with PEF about the 250 positions, 

16          whether they would be represented titles, 

17          whether they would be management titles, 

18          whether they would be bargaining unit titles?

19                 PEF VP BRATE:  Well, the legislation 

20          as I saw it says that it's salary grade.  It 

21          doesn't give a designation.  

22                 Now, I do know --

23                 SENATOR SAVINO:  But let me just -- 

24          because it also does say, though, that at 

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 1          some point they will have to take a 

 2          competitive-class civil service test.  So 

 3          that would place them into the bargaining 

 4          unit.

 5                 PEF VP BRATE:  Into the pool, yes.

 6                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Right.

 7                 PEF VP BRATE:  So think about it.  

 8          Right now they changed the format of the 

 9          format of the exams.  They have selective 

10          cert.  So -- and there's thousands.  They 

11          just gave the exams; there's thousands of 

12          people on this list.  So they already have 

13          the ability to do the selective cert and 

14          understand where the skills are.  They 

15          haven't produced it where they don't have the 

16          skills.  

17                 So yes, they would have to take the 

18          exam.  And if you look back at the last time 

19          this was done, Senator, in 2009, a lot of 

20          them people that took the test didn't score 

21          as high as some of the existing state 

22          workers.  You know?  

23                 So I really think that we really need 

24          to do the research and the study and then 

                                                                  143

 1          give me a compelling reason.  You know, 

 2          Because I'm not saying, hey, we don't want -- 

 3          I mean, we do need staff.  But I'm saying 

 4          let's give the opportunities to the existing 

 5          members who really know their program area.  

 6          I'm telling you, the people that built them 

 7          DMV databases, they know that.  There's stuff 

 8          that they have, so much stuff in their brain, 

 9          that that succession has to come down as the 

10          attrition happens.  

11                 So if you're going to bring them in at 

12          the higher level, the 25, 27, and 29, you're 

13          skipping the whole succession of the 

14          attrition that's going out.  I mean, it 

15          doesn't make sense.

16                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Right.  Finally, one 

17          last point.  I don't know why it's 250 

18          people, but are there 250 people on the 

19          existing lists?  

20                 PEF VP BRATE:  Thousands.

21                 SENATOR SAVINO:  So they have 

22          sufficient candidates on an outstanding civil 

23          service list for IT professionals that have 

24          already been selective certified by area and 

                                                                  144

 1          by agency?

 2                 PEF VP BRATE:  When they established 

 3          the list and they have a specific title 

 4          mindset that they're looking for, they'll say 

 5          we're looking for these skills.  And then 

 6          they play the dating game, the matching 

 7          game --

 8                 (Unintelligible cross-talk.)

 9                 SENATOR SAVINO:  I'm familiar with 

10          selective cert.  I'm just trying to make 

11          sure.  

12                 So they have -- a thousand people 

13          currently have taken an exam or exams, there 

14          are select certification lists by agency, by 

15          skill.  And they're not even going to go to 

16          those lists, they're going to hire 250 people 

17          from outside and put them into a five-year 

18          term, and at some point they're going to have 

19          to take a civil service test that has not 

20          been developed.

21                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Right, 

22          correct.

23                 PEF VP BRATE:  Well, let me be clear.  

24          They said that existing state employees can 

                                                                  145

 1          apply for them tests.  And at one point they 

 2          said they'd have priority.  But if they can 

 3          apply for them, then why aren't they using 

 4          the list?  

 5                 SENATOR SAVINO:  And is there an 

 6          existing description of these jobs that 

 7          they're looking to fill?

 8                 PEF VP BRATE:  Probably the only 

 9          descriptions I could probably pull up right 

10          now, because I didn't see any --

11                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Would be in the 

12          budget.

13                 PEF VP BRATE:  -- is the 2009.  If 

14          they were to be the same.  But I would 

15          imagine that a lot has changed in technology, 

16          as we all know, since 2009.

17                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

19                 Assembly?  

20                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblyman Weprin.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Yes, thank you, 

22          Mr. Chairman.  

23                 Mr. Amorosi, you referred in your 

24          written testimony, not in your oral 

                                                                  146

 1          testimony, as to the cutback in visitation 

 2          schedule for the maximum-security 

 3          institutions, which would eliminate 39 FTE 

 4          positions.  There was an article in the Daily 

 5          News today on it, and I've taken a -- and the 

 6          Assembly is going to be taking the position, 

 7          the Assembly Democratic majority, against 

 8          that particular cut.  It's only about 2.6 

 9          million in a multi-billion-dollar budget.  We 

10          would obviously welcome your support.  

11                 And it's not even so much the -- you 

12          know, the positions as the value of the 

13          visitation in these high security, maximum 

14          security facilities, and the humane aspect of 

15          it for the families.  And it just seems to 

16          be, you know, a very harsh cut and a cut that 

17          does not really save a lot of money but also 

18          could potentially lead to a security problem 

19          in these institutions.  

20                 So we would welcome your support in 

21          opposing that cut.

22                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  I'll come 

23          see you.  You will have it, though.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Okay, thank you.  

                                                                  147

 1                 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I do want to follow 

 3          up on a few of the points that you brought 

 4          forward, and I want to thank you for your 

 5          continued advocacy on behalf of the children 

 6          of Western New York who have psychiatric 

 7          concerns.  That's been such a big issue for 

 8          so many people.  And we've been able to keep 

 9          it open, you know, for as long as we have, 

10          and we need to continue to work together on 

11          that issue.

12                 I wanted to ask about the parole 

13          officers.  It is astounding to hear that 33 

14          officers are overseeing, what was it, 1800 

15          cases?

16                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Yes.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That seems like an 

18          incredible amount.  Can you explain to us 

19          what the implications of such a situation is, 

20          especially as it relates to public safety?

21                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Sure.  

22          Basically, when you have that many caseloads, 

23          you spend less time with all of your folks.  

24          And I know -- I also know -- I mean, I can 

                                                                  148

 1          give you some of my feedback as a defense 

 2          attorney and as a prosecutor as well.  I 

 3          mean, what happens is in -- and by virtue of 

 4          the fact that there's really no choice, 

 5          parole officers have to do an assessment, you 

 6          know, almost on the fly as to who the most 

 7          dangerous people are.  And they have to 

 8          devote a lot of their time and resources to 

 9          paying attention strictly to those folks.  

10                 So as a consequence, you have -- I 

11          mean, I guess I'll use the term maybe less 

12          bad people who, you know, don't get the 

13          attention that they should have because we're 

14          understaffed and we're spending the bulk of 

15          our time on the critical cases.  So we have a 

16          situation where, you know, our officers are 

17          spread very thin, they have many things they 

18          have to do in terms of home visits, drug 

19          screens -- there's a myriad of things our 

20          officers perform.  Warrant enforcement.  

21                 So in answer to your question, 

22          Senator, yes, I mean, it does -- not to be an 

23          alarmist, but it certainly does -- it is not 

24          the best thing for public safety.  I mean, 

                                                                  149

 1          certainly that ratio is crazy.  

 2                 And I used to know it, and it escapes 

 3          me right now, and forgive me -- but I know 

 4          that there's a capable ratio of correction 

 5          officers to inmates, and it's drastically 

 6          lower.  Drastically lower.  And I wish I had 

 7          it for you today, but I don't.  But I can get 

 8          you that.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That would be 

10          helpful to know.

11                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  I'll get 

12          that to you.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That would be very 

14          helpful to have that.

15                 You mentioned that, going back to the 

16          IT issue, which, you know, Nikki especially, 

17          you've been very helpful in explaining the 

18          implications of that situation.  But you talk 

19          about that there are desk support specialists 

20          in Buffalo, because it's been privatized, but 

21          there also are reports of calls being 

22          answered in Colorado.  Could you expound on 

23          that point?

24                 PEF VP BRATE:  So that's the report 

                                                                  150

 1          that came out in the Times Union.  I haven't 

 2          confirmed actually that they're being called.  

 3          Because the way that the IP routing works, 

 4          sometimes it isn't as -- I did talk with 

 5          Steve Spalton {ph} on this, and we're getting 

 6          more information.  But what I can say is that 

 7          when IBM subcontracted to Nfrastructure, 

 8          Nfrastructure then was bought out by the 

 9          company in Colorado.  So if you kind of look 

10          back and follow what exactly transpired 

11          during there, it would make sense to me that 

12          the company can be in Colorado and the 

13          phones, the way they route their calls -- I 

14          haven't really investigated into that, so I 

15          can't tell you exactly.  But if you would 

16          look at the way that Nfrastructure was bought 

17          out by this company in Colorado, that's kind 

18          of how that perpetrated, I believe.  

19                 And we are looking at that a little 

20          bit more, because I think I agree 100 percent 

21          with Greg; taking the jobs out of the public 

22          sector and putting them into the private 

23          sector is merely job shifting, it is not job 

24          creation.

                                                                  151

 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 2                 With the design/build portion that you 

 3          cover, you talk about the fact that you 

 4          believe that it doesn't make sense to -- and 

 5          I agree with you -- to skimp on critical 

 6          component materials.  Do you have examples of 

 7          that that the Legislature could look at?

 8                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  No pun 

 9          intended; I was going to say I don't have any 

10          concrete examples.  But the stories that I 

11          have are related to concrete, so.  

12                 I know that there have been situations 

13          where -- and it's been in the -- I think it 

14          was with -- it might have been with the 

15          Tappan Zee.  Vice President Brate just wrote 

16          frantically, and it's in there, that the 

17          Boston Tunnel is a perfect example of -- you 

18          know, I think they're pumping millions of 

19          gallons of seawater out of that thing every 

20          day, the ceiling leaks.  You know, which is 

21          not --

22                 PEF VP BRATE:  And that was from just 

23          changing a bolt.

24                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Yeah, so.  

                                                                  152

 1          But I think we have situations where concrete 

 2          that's supposed to last 20 years, we get 

 3          concrete poured that lasts five years.  

 4                 Those are some of the examples that 

 5          have been reported to us.  And again, we just 

 6          -- what it really comes down to for us, 

 7          honestly, is we have -- our PEF engineers, we 

 8          believe, should be inspecting those sites.  

 9          You know, I just think -- as you can imagine, 

10          a good analogy is I don't think you want the 

11          person who's building your home to be the 

12          same person who inspects it at the end and 

13          says it's okay.  

14                 You know, I think you want a 

15          different -- we believe that the more sets of 

16          eyes, especially our eyes, that don't have a 

17          stake in it, should be looking at these 

18          projects just to make sure that they're what 

19          they should be.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Thank you.

21                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Next, Mr. Bronson.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Thank you, 

23          Mr. Chair.  

24                 A couple of questions.  First of all, 

                                                                  153

 1          we've spoken about this a lot and I'm 

 2          carrying the bill regarding the consulting 

 3          situation here in New York State, and the 

 4          fact that we still rely too heavily on 

 5          workers from outside the state workforce to 

 6          do things that our workers can do.  So we're 

 7          going to keep pushing for that, as you well 

 8          know.

 9                 But I would like to talk a little bit 

10          more -- you mentioned regarding how that also 

11          has an impact because we don't have 

12          sufficient training for our workers.  So that 

13          if they want to advance in the workplace, get 

14          a promotion, that there's a lack of training 

15          and a lack of taking tests so that you can 

16          move up the ladder, if you will.  Something 

17          that I would think every employer would want 

18          to have happen for their quality workforce.  

19                 Can you expand on that a little bit 

20          for me?  

21                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Sure.  And 

22          again, thank you.  I mean, I didn't know if I 

23          should thank you before I start or after.  

24          But thank you for your support on that 

                                                                  154

 1          legislation you carry for us.

 2                 Yeah, I mean the training piece, I 

 3          mean it certainly applies to our IT folks and 

 4          it applies to our people across the board.  

 5          And it goes to frustration with Civil Service 

 6          as a whole, I believe.  We have situations 

 7          where -- and again, I understand Civil 

 8          Service is understaffed.  You know, that's 

 9          what we're told.  But we have a situation 

10          where -- and it ties into training.  But we 

11          have a situation where our folks, we take 

12          exams, and since -- and I believe it ties 

13          back to Civil Service not having the right 

14          number of people there.  

15                 You take the same test, you have no 

16          idea -- if you failed the test, you have no 

17          idea why you failed, because no one goes over 

18          it with you.  So you take the same test, you 

19          keep failing it, and you have no idea what 

20          you did right or wrong.  You know, so -- and 

21          then you think to yourself, okay, this is the 

22          fourth time I've done this, so maybe I'm 

23          going to go in and I'm going to do the 

24          opposite.  So then you get all the ones you 

                                                                  155

 1          got right wrong and all the ones you got 

 2          wrong right, and you still fail the test.  

 3                 You know, so we feel that that denies 

 4          our people -- that's a critical way that our 

 5          folks are denied an opportunity to advance, 

 6          because they just -- you know, we've 

 7          discussed trying to get better access to 

 8          testing materials, better post-examination 

 9          experience so that our members can -- and 

10          again, the answer is you don't give the same 

11          test every two years or every four years.  

12          Maybe hire some extra people and create some 

13          new tests, so giving an answer doesn't give 

14          away what's on the next text.  

15                 You know, so that's a huge problem for 

16          us.  So yes.  Go ahead.

17                 PEF VP BRATE:  I just want to kick in 

18          on there.  And thank you for the cost-benefit 

19          analysis.  And one thing I'd just like to 

20          kind of throw at you, and I'm going to have 

21          many conversations with you after, is that 

22          one of the things I'm worried about is 

23          they're talking that they're selling these 

24          things as services now, so therefore it 

                                                                  156

 1          doesn't really fall under the realm of the 

 2          cost-benefit analysis anymore.  So we might 

 3          need to work on that a little bit more 

 4          together.  

 5                 They're getting creative, so we're 

 6          going to get creative.  Innovative, we got 

 7          innovation.  See, we have talent.  

 8                 But one of the things that I recognize 

 9          with the training is not so much that there's 

10          not training, it's the special expertise that 

11          are coming in that are getting the training.  

12          So they're brought in to do this skill that 

13          no one else has that they supposedly have, 

14          but they're the ones that are doing that job, 

15          so therefore they're going to invest those 

16          training dollars in those special expertise 

17          while our members are still, you know, 

18          kicking along maintaining the antiquated 

19          systems.  

20                 So they're not getting that 

21          opportunity to develop.  While at the same 

22          time, because that's not directly related to 

23          their job task, the ones that are coming in 

24          are getting the training.  So if you kind of 

                                                                  157

 1          really take a look, you know, peek under the 

 2          cover and see what's going on, you kind of 

 3          get some surprises.  Because that's exactly 

 4          what's happening.  

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Well, I'm going 

 6          to be looking very closely at the workforce 

 7          development dollars that we have in this 

 8          budget, and perhaps that's an area that we 

 9          should look at.  Because, you know, the 

10          reality is an employer should be interested 

11          in advancing their employees, because it 

12          really benefits the whole organization.  And 

13          so we should be encouraging that in this 

14          budget this year.

15                 Turning to another topic, as you know, 

16          I worked closely with many of your members up 

17          in Rochester regarding the Rochester Psych 

18          Center.  And the scenario, as I understand 

19          it, it still exists.  You know, as the state 

20          is saying:  We're going to make more cuts in 

21          residential beds, whether those are forensic 

22          beds or some other type of bed.  But as much 

23          as we've asked from the commissioner and the 

24          agency of what is the long-term plan, you 

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 1          know, what is the short-term plan -- have you 

 2          experienced -- I mean, is that the same 

 3          scenario across the state, or has it gotten 

 4          better that we have -- we're getting better 

 5          information from, in this case, Office of 

 6          Mental Health, getting better information at 

 7          all on what their transformative plans are?

 8                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  I don't 

 9          think so.  I mean, again, no would be my 

10          answer to that.  We're in the same boat.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  All right, so 

12          that's another area that we have to keep 

13          working on.  And I think CSEA's testimony 

14          touched on that.  

15                 I mean, the reality is there is an 

16          additional cost.  We can't just have these 

17          patients go out on the streets without having 

18          community-based services for them, because at 

19          the end of the day we're paying for that 

20          additional cost in our hospital emergency 

21          rooms, by our police force, by our court 

22          system, and on and on.  Not to mention it's a 

23          disservice for the individuals who have a 

24          mental health condition.  So another area 

                                                                  159

 1          that we have a lot of work to do.  

 2                 Thank you.

 3                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Thank you.  

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

 5          Assemblyman.

 6                 Next we have Senator Alcantara.

 7                 SENATOR ALCANTARA:  Thank you, Senator 

 8          Young.  

 9                 Senator Young talked about the fact 

10          that we have about 1800 inmates to 36 parole 

11          officers.  And like she stated, it's very 

12          alarming, because you talked about 

13          short-staffing.  And studies have been done 

14          that justified why short-staffing is so 

15          dangerous, whether you are a nurse, you are a 

16          police officer or a parole officer.  

17                 And my question is, have you seen an 

18          increase in work-related violence or workers 

19          just leaving the job because of the high 

20          amount, the volume of work?  Because if you 

21          only have 36 parole officers for 1800 

22          inmates, I can imagine that there has been an 

23          increase in workplace violence, workers are 

24          made to do more overtime work on their days 

                                                                  160

 1          off.  And I can imagine that because of that, 

 2          a lot of the parole officers are probably 

 3          leaving the job.

 4                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  No, you're 

 5          exactly right.  And it extends beyond our 

 6          parole officers, who I know that's what you 

 7          started the question with, but across DOCCS, 

 8          we have seen an uptick in violence on staff.  

 9                 And again, it's -- the shortages, it's 

10          just -- it creates and perpetuates a 

11          never-ending cycle.  There's less people -- 

12          you know, if you talk about parole officers, 

13          or whether it's our nurses, if you're in a 

14          psychiatric center, you know, we're short 

15          nurses.  So instead of having four or five 

16          nurses on a floor to maybe see a particular 

17          individual who -- and a nurse who recognizes 

18          that person is about to go off or have an 

19          episode, that nurse isn't there, there's 

20          another nurse who's not there, so a situation 

21          happens that wouldn't have occurred at all 

22          had the proper staffing levels been there.  

23                 So again, it's problematic.

24                 PEF VP BRATE:  And I'd like to add 

                                                                  161

 1          into it just for a second.  You know, it's 

 2          very dangerous.  It's dangerous for our 

 3          parole officers and it's dangerous for the 

 4          communities.  And it also puts an additional 

 5          burden onto the local law enforcement.  

 6          Because all of us can pick up the paper any 

 7          day of the week and see that a parolee may or 

 8          may not have, you know, done another crime.  

 9                 So if our parole officers aren't able 

10          to keep tabs as closely as they need to be 

11          until the rehabilitation happens, it's 

12          harmful, like I said, to our parole officers, 

13          their work, the stress level is high -- but 

14          it's also dangerous to the community, the 

15          communities that we serve.  And that we need 

16          to protect as well.

17                 SENATOR ALCANTARA:  And my other 

18          question, in terms of the work that is being 

19          privatized, are those privatized jobs, is 

20          anyone organizing those workers?  Or they 

21          don't qualify under your titles?

22                 PEF VP BRATE:  Well, we don't have an 

23          answer to that.  Should they be organized?  

24          They absolutely should be organized.  But I 

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 1          can't tell you who or who is not doing that 

 2          at this time, for reasons.  So ...

 3                 SENATOR ALCANTARA:  Because it's 

 4          pretty obvious to those of us, like Senator 

 5          Savino, that come out of organized workers, 

 6          that when you privatize work it's short for 

 7          union-busting.  So I was just concerned if 

 8          these workers are being organized into 

 9          another union or ...

10                 PEF VP BRATE:  Thank you.

11                 SENATOR ALCANTARA:   That's it.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, Senator.

13                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL: Assemblywoman Rozic.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROZIC:  Thank you, 

15          Mr. Chairman.  

16                 I wanted to turn to the part of your 

17          testimony that talks about SUNY hospitals, 

18          because we haven't focused on that yet.  

19                 And on behalf of my colleague, 

20          Assemblywoman Richardson, who has deep 

21          concerns about the proposal in the budget to 

22          reduce state support for SUNY's three 

23          teaching hospitals by $18.6 million, how does 

24          that impact or affect your workforce?  And 

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 1          also if you could speak to the specifics of 

 2          which three hospitals they're targeting.

 3                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Actually, 

 4          I don't have specifics on that, but I can get 

 5          it.  

 6                 But obviously, again, $18 million, you 

 7          know, will have a dramatic -- I can make an 

 8          argument that $100,000 would have a pretty 

 9          dramatic impact on our folks at these 

10          hospitals, so 18.6 million -- and again, I 

11          haven't dove too deeply at this point into 

12          what exactly the impact would have.  I know 

13          it will be horrible.  Usually I frankly spend 

14          most of my time bothering you guys, begging 

15          you to get it put back in for me, and it's 

16          been -- we've had luck with that.  

17                 So I will find out for you.  I can get 

18          a specific break-out from our health folks on 

19          that, and I will get it to you.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROZIC:  More 

21          specifically, do you know if SUNY Downstate 

22          is one of these three hospitals?

23                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Oh, yeah.  

24          Absolutely, yes.

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 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROZIC:  And the other 

 2          two being --

 3                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Stony 

 4          Brook, Downstate and Upstate.

 5                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROZIC:  Great, thank 

 6          you.  And if you could follow up with us on 

 7          those details, that would be great.

 8                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  I will.  

 9          You got it.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROZIC:  Thank you, 

11          Mr. Chair.

12                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  I think that's it 

13          on our side.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I think that's all 

15          we have today.  So we really appreciate you 

16          joining us, and a very productive discussion.  

17          I'm sure we'll be talking very shortly.

18                 PEF LEG. DIRECTOR AMOROSI:  Yes, we 

19          will.  Thank you very much.  Thank you for 

20          your time.

21                 PEF VP BRATE:  Thank you.

22                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  We've been joined 

23          by Assemblyman Nick Perry and Assemblyman 

24          FÈlix Ortiz.

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 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Our next speakers 

 2          are from the New York State Management 

 3          Confidential Employees, and that's Barbara 

 4          Zaron, president, and Joe Sano, executive 

 5          director.  

 6                 Thank you for being here today.

 7                 OMCE PRESIDENT ZARON:  Thank you very 

 8          much.  It's nice to be back with you again.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Yes, it is.

10                 OMCE PRESIDENT ZARON:  And we want to 

11          first thank you all for the support and your 

12          concerns for ensuring that Management 

13          Confidential Employees are treated with 

14          respect and that their pay equity issues have 

15          been addressed.

16                 So we have something that many people 

17          are calling good news to tell you.  This year 

18          the M/Cs who are working, still working 

19          providing services to the people of New York, 

20          are approaching pay equity with their 

21          union-represented colleagues through the 

22          payment of the third installment of the pay 

23          equity adjustment and the first 

24          cost-of-living salary increase under a new 

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 1          M/C pay bill.  This pay bill is expected to 

 2          be introduced along with the PEF pay bill, 

 3          which as we understand is being developed and 

 4          should be introduced shortly.  And it will 

 5          provide the same 2 percent annual increases 

 6          for M/Cs as PEF negotiated.  

 7                 We ask for your support on passage of 

 8          this bill, and we look forward to 

 9          implementation.

10                 However, the glass remains only 

11          partially full for M/Cs.  Those M/Cs who had 

12          their 2009 and 2010 salary increases withheld 

13          and who have retired since 2009 have received 

14          none of the 7 percent parity payments.  So 

15          their pension benefits, their Social Security 

16          benefits, and of course the value of their 

17          sick leave accruals have thus far been 

18          permanently diminished.  

19                 Over the years we've introduced a 

20          number of different proposals to address this 

21          issue, and this year we have a new proposal.  

22          That is an M/C personal income tax credit 

23          that would be applicable only to those 

24          retirees who were affected by the salary 

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 1          withholding, and those who retired between 

 2          April of 2009 and March 31st of 2019, which 

 3          is the ending date of when they will meet the 

 4          parity threshold.  And that would be a tax 

 5          credit which would provide 5 percent of their 

 6          pension benefit, not to exceed $3,000 a year, 

 7          and annual implementation up to a maximum of 

 8          five years.

 9                 Now, this really in no way compensates 

10          these retirees for the loss that they have 

11          suffered by the withholding.  It would, 

12          however, provide a small token that they've 

13          not been completely abandoned by their former 

14          employer, and some recognition of their years 

15          of public service.

16                 We've begun discussion on this 

17          proposal and we're beginning meetings with 

18          legislators next week.

19                 So you've already discussed the health 

20          insurance proposals of the Governor.  These 

21          are very similar to ones in the last three or 

22          four years.  You've rejected them.  We 

23          absolutely urge you to reject them again this 

24          year.  And I won't go into anything further.

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 1                 You've also heard some discussion this 

 2          morning about the Justice Center.  We did 

 3          mention last year some concerns that we had 

 4          with the operations of the Justice Center.  

 5          We continue to be concerned.  And we know 

 6          that the agencies are concerned, that 

 7          legislators are concerned, our members and 

 8          other M/Cs who are responsible for the care 

 9          of these vulnerable populations are very 

10          concerned, and so are the nonprofits who are 

11          affected by Justice Center oversight.

12                 In the written testimony we attached a 

13          copy of a letter that we sent to Deputy 

14          Secretary for Health and Human Services Paul 

15          Francis last year, and this outlines the five 

16          major areas of concern.  If you want I can go 

17          through quickly, but you have them there.  

18          And I would just say that all of the issues 

19          that Fran and Greg from CSEA and PEF spoke 

20          about earlier, the M/Cs face as well.  They 

21          are also targets of allegations of abuse and 

22          neglect from employees, clients, and whoever 

23          else decides to make an allegation, and 

24          they're responsible for managing the services 

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 1          that need to be provided to these vulnerable 

 2          populations at the same time as they are 

 3          being targeted for investigation.

 4                 We have heard something that says a 

 5          new director of the Justice Center may be 

 6          appointed soon.  We hope to meet that new 

 7          person and outline our concerns and proposals 

 8          for improvement.

 9                 We unequivocally agree that abuse and 

10          neglect of our vulnerable population cannot 

11          be tolerated.  However, we also unequivocally 

12          state that the state employees -- and I would 

13          extend that to the nonprofits, of course -- 

14          who care for these New Yorkers must also be 

15          protected from abuse of their rights and 

16          interference with their ability to do their 

17          job.

18                 Now I want to move to some issues 

19          related to the workforce issues.  You did 

20          also speak earlier about consolidation of the 

21          administrative law judge functions.  We heard 

22          about this during a briefing, and it's not 

23          clear to -- we have a number of questions 

24          about how this consolidation would work.  

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 1          It's not clear, I thought one of the 

 2          legislators had indicated something about if 

 3          this is going to apply to employee relations 

 4          hearings or is it just programmatic hearings.  

 5                 In any event, the Governor in his 

 6          budget proposal assumes several benefits from 

 7          consolidation.  For example, a more impartial 

 8          and efficient hearing process, a more skilled 

 9          workforce, maybe cost savings.  

10                 We have had to live through a number 

11          of agency consolidations and reorganizations 

12          in the last six or seven years, and we've had 

13          to help M/C employees navigate the various 

14          negative impacts of prior agency 

15          consolidations, as well as the negative 

16          impacts that the Justice Center visits upon 

17          them.  So there typically will be staff 

18          disruptions, loss of expertise, duplication 

19          of efforts, and long time frames for the new 

20          organization to gel and for people to learn 

21          and understand and be able to implement 

22          effectively the new operations and 

23          responsibilities.

24                 We would suggest, if this particular 

                                                                  171

 1          provision is approved, any organization plan 

 2          -- and there should be a plan developed -- 

 3          needs to be subject to your legislative 

 4          review and oversight, and we also believe it 

 5          should be vetted with the employee 

 6          organizations prior to implementation.

 7                 So here's several other proposals.  A 

 8          chief procurement officer.  We already have a 

 9          procurement office at OGS, Office of General 

10          Services, and the State Comptroller has 

11          wide-ranging responsibility and authority to 

12          review, approve and audit procurement 

13          contracts.  

14                 Duplicating in a chief procurement 

15          officer the responsibilities of the State 

16          Comptroller is not efficient.  It certainly 

17          does not promote good government practices.  

18          What is needed, we believe, is restoration of 

19          the authority of the State Comptroller to 

20          review all pending state contracts, including 

21          SUNY, Research Foundation, and the nonprofits 

22          established by those entities.  This is the 

23          authority that you know very well was taken 

24          away from the Comptroller in 2011.  We 

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 1          believe it should be restored to that office.

 2                 Then we have proposals for new 

 3          inspectors general in various agencies.  So 

 4          it seems we're becoming a government by 

 5          inspector general.  It looks like every 

 6          agency needs to have one if they don't, and 

 7          needs to have more authority if they do.  

 8                 We're concerned about this, not only 

 9          the message, but we seem to be reversing the 

10          way we should be doing business.  We should 

11          be trying to prevent any wrongdoing from 

12          taking place.  So that may require sufficient 

13          career workforce, it may require additional 

14          training and resources for those people to 

15          carry out their responsibilities, it may 

16          require that employees are treated with 

17          respect and that there's a focus on ethical 

18          behavior being required in the agencies.  

19                 Inspector generals are necessary, but 

20          we are really concerned that there's just too 

21          much focus on doing things by investigation.

22                 So then the overview of agency 

23          staffing issues.  And you've heard earlier 

24          also, the Governor touts the reduction of 

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 1          10,000 positions in the Executive-controlled 

 2          workforce during his tenure.  And you've also 

 3          heard that the other side of that is delay or 

 4          undelivered services, increased overtime, 

 5          increased stress.  

 6                 You've all seen the comments by CSEA 

 7          President Danny Donohue about the 

 8          OPWDD-related budget proposals.  We believe 

 9          that the state agencies are underresourced 

10          and understaffed.  Downsizing state 

11          facilities and downgrading the value of state 

12          employees is a really serious issue as far as 

13          we're concerned.  And managing in this 

14          environment continues to be more and more 

15          difficult.

16                 Just a word about the Empire Star 

17          Award program.  There have been other 

18          programs like this in the past.  They are 

19          kind of a flash in the pan, and then they 

20          disappear.  The reaction of our workforce 

21          generally tends to be:  Oh, another way for 

22          the favored few to get another perk.

23                 This ought to be reviewed.  We think 

24          the dollars that may be allocated for this 

                                                                  174

 1          would be better spent providing additional 

 2          tuition reimbursement opportunities for 

 3          work-development issues, and that people 

 4          really need to be treated -- the recognition 

 5          should come from treating them well and 

 6          recognizing their work on a regular basis.  

 7          It does not necessarily have to be "I'm 

 8          handing you a check to say that you're doing 

 9          a good job."

10                 Okay, so we need to build our career 

11          state workforce infrastructure just like we 

12          need to rebuild our physical 

13          infrastructure -- roads, bridges, sewer and 

14          water, et cetera.  Without the career 

15          workforce, we're not going to have an 

16          effective working state government that can 

17          provide the services that the public depends 

18          on.  And that includes carrying out the 

19          constitutional merit and fitness 

20          requirements, which seem to be going by the 

21          board, especially for the M/C workforce.

22                 In the written testimony we have a 

23          chart -- unfortunately it's not up-to-date, 

24          and we're working on that -- which shows a 

                                                                  175

 1          continuing decline in the number of 

 2          competitive-class M/C employees and a serious 

 3          expansion in the exempt-class appointee 

 4          positions.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 6                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

 8          much.

 9                 OMCE PRESIDENT ZARON:  You're most 

10          welcome.  Thank you.  

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  We appreciate that 

12          comprehensive testimony.  I don't believe 

13          that anyone has any questions, so --

14                 OMCE PRESIDENT ZARON:  Oh, we do such 

15          a good job?

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  You do.  You're 

17          very efficient.

18                 OMCE PRESIDENT ZARON:  Wonderful.  

19          Thank you very much.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  But again, we truly 

21          appreciate your input.  It's very valuable.

22                 OMCE PRESIDENT ZARON:  Thank you.

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Our next speakers 

                                                                  176

 1          are from the Retired Public Employees 

 2          Association, and that's John McPadden, 

 3          president, and Edward Farrell, executive 

 4          director.

 5                 Very happy to have you here today.  

 6          Denny says you're related, so --

 7                 (Laughter.)

 8                 PRESIDENT McPADDEN:  Chairwoman Young, 

 9          Chairman Farrell, members of the Senate 

10          Finance and Assembly Ways and Means 

11          Committee, thank you for the opportunity to 

12          speak to you this afternoon.  

13                 My name is Jack McPadden, president of 

14          the board of directors of the Retired Public 

15          Employees Association, and I'm testifying 

16          with Ed Farrell, RPEA's executive director, 

17          on behalf of retired public employees and 

18          their beneficiaries.

19                 The Governor's budget proposes 

20          language that, if adopted, would constitute 

21          significant premium increases for healthcare 

22          benefits for Medicare-eligible retirees 

23          enrolled in the New York State Health 

24          Insurance Program, NYSHIP.  State retirees' 

                                                                  177

 1          pensions and healthcare benefits are derived 

 2          from the express and implied future 

 3          agreements of our employers.  Once we retire, 

 4          we all rely on those promises for a 

 5          financially secure and well-deserved 

 6          retirement.  

 7                 While health insurance benefits for 

 8          retirees are not constitutionally protected, 

 9          as are our pensions, as a responsible 

10          employer and a matter of sound public policy, 

11          the state has included retirees in NYSHIP for 

12          accessible and affordable health insurance 

13          coverage.

14                 Currently, eligible NYSHIP retirees 

15          pay the exact same premium contribution as do 

16          their counterpart active state employees.  

17          However, the state has realized significant 

18          cost savings for retiree health insurance by 

19          requiring that all retirees participating in 

20          NYSHIP enroll in the federal Medicare program 

21          upon turning age 65.  As a requirement for 

22          Medicare enrollment, such retirees pay the 

23          standard Part B premium, but they're also 

24          required to pay the full NYSHIP premium for 

                                                                  178

 1          their coverage.  Additionally, retirees with 

 2          higher incomes also pay a Medicare Part B and 

 3          Part D income-related monthly adjustment 

 4          amount, otherwise known as the IRMAA 

 5          surcharge.  

 6                 Because these actions save the state 

 7          money, the Legislature provided for full 

 8          reimbursement of all Medicare Part B 

 9          premiums.  Chapter 602 of the Laws of 1966 

10          created Section 167A of the Civil Service Law 

11          to offset this additional cost to enrollees 

12          so that the total cost they pay for health 

13          insurance would remain unchanged.  

14                 To follow up on a point raised by 

15          Assemblywoman Mayer, we find the most 

16          egregious part of the Executive Budget is the 

17          so-called capping of the Medicare Part B 

18          premiums at the December 31, 2016, levels of 

19          $104 and $121.80 a month.  Now, there was a 

20          modest Social Security COLA this year.  So as 

21          of January 1st, Medicare premiums have 

22          increased to $109 and $134 a month.  

23                 What makes this proposal so odd is 

24          that back in December, the Department of 

                                                                  179

 1          Civil Service sent a memo to all retirees, 

 2          which we've attached to our testimony, 

 3          stating that effective January 1st, it would 

 4          be reimbursing them at the new higher rate.  

 5          Now, less than one month later, the Governor 

 6          proposes going back to the lower rate, 

 7          effective December 31st, and that was going 

 8          to take effect on May 1st of this year.  

 9                 The distinction that may not have been 

10          clearly made is what is being proposed as a 

11          cap is actually a cut in benefits to the 

12          entire 150,000 Medicare-eligible recipients 

13          in NYSHIP.  This proposal was presented by 

14          the Governor in a very misleading manner.  We 

15          bring it to the attention of the members of 

16          the fiscal committee and hope that it will be 

17          deleted from the budget.

18                 Now, as he did in previous budgets, 

19          the Governor again proposes elimination of 

20          the Part B IRMAA surcharge reimbursement.  

21          You've rejected his efforts in the past.  

22          This surcharge would range from an additional 

23          $53 to $295 per month, out of pocket, for 

24          each retiree.  We also ask that you delete 

                                                                  180

 1          this from the budget.

 2                 I'd like to point out that the state 

 3          has saved money on retiree drug prescription 

 4          coverage by blending NYSHIP coverage with 

 5          Medicare Part D.  As Medicare retirees 

 6          discovered, there's also a Part D IRMAA 

 7          surcharge which the state refuses to 

 8          reimburse, claiming that the Civil Service 

 9          Law does not apply to prescription drug 

10          coverage.

11                 Now, this surcharge ranges from $13 to 

12          $76 a month, out of pocket, for each retiree.  

13          It's an insignificant savings to the state, 

14          but it breaks faith with the spirit and 

15          intent of the 1966 Medicare reimbursement 

16          law.  Last year there was a bill sponsored by 

17          Senator Golden and Assemblyman Abbate which 

18          passed the Senate to correct this inequity, 

19          and we urge that it be adopted in both houses 

20          this year.

21                 Also in the exhibit is the Governor's 

22          proposal to implement differential NYSHIP 

23          premium contributions for new retirees based 

24          on years of service.  We believe, as many 

                                                                  181

 1          have said already, that this proposal is one 

 2          that is subject to collective bargaining, and 

 3          we are very fearful that any attempt to 

 4          reduce the state's premium contribution would 

 5          reverberate on state retirees who have 

 6          already retired, in much the same way as the 

 7          2011 negotiated increase in NYSHIP premiums 

 8          also impacted those who were retired.

 9                 I point out that the Executive's 

10          stated rationale for these ill-conceived 

11          proposals is that retiree healthcare costs 

12          are "beyond the benchmark growth rate of 2 

13          percent a year."  This may well be the most 

14          disingenuous statement in the entire 

15          Executive Budget.  The committees are fully 

16          aware that no health insurance cost would 

17          meet the Governor's self-imposed 2 percent 

18          range.  As a matter of fact, I've already 

19          said retirees are in the same healthcare plan 

20          and pay the exact same premiums as do active 

21          employees.  

22                 To somehow infer that retirees are 

23          "challenging the state's ability to remain 

24          economically competitive" is simply not true.  

                                                                  182

 1          Retirees are major contributors to New York's 

 2          economy.  According to the Comptroller, 

 3          public-sector retirees' annual spending is 

 4          responsible for over $12 billion in economic 

 5          activity and creates roughly 66,000 jobs.  

 6                 While my testimony today concerns 

 7          state retirees' access to affordable 

 8          healthcare, resolution of these issues 

 9          affects retirees of local governments as 

10          well.  There are approximately 200,000 

11          employees of local governments who are 

12          enrolled in the NYSHIP program, and what you 

13          do here at the state level sets significant 

14          precedents and policy that local governments 

15          in NYSHIP apply to their public employees.  

16          In addition, non-participating local 

17          governments often look to state policy to 

18          establish fair and uniform practices in 

19          providing health insurance coverage for their 

20          employees.

21                 Therefore, we rely on you, our elected 

22          representatives, to provide budget oversight 

23          of the Executive to protect our healthcare 

24          benefits to make sure that promises made are 

                                                                  183

 1          promises kept.

 2                 Now, there's one other issue that just 

 3          recently came to our attention, and it's one 

 4          that Assemblyman Oaks raised during the 

 5          questioning of Commissioner Brabham.  Back in 

 6          2004, the Government Accounting Standards 

 7          Board began to focus on the growing cost of 

 8          post-retirement healthcare.  Subsequently 

 9          they adopted standards that required employer 

10          disclosure, but not prefunding, of this 

11          liability.

12                 Now, the Executive Budget contains a 

13          proposal to create a Retiree Health Benefit 

14          Trust Fund under the control of the 

15          Commissioner of Civil Service.  It appears 

16          that the Director of the Budget could 

17          transfer a portion of any cash surplus 

18          remaining in the General Fund into this 

19          account.  These funds would then be invested 

20          by the Commissioner of Tax and Finance and 

21          could be used only to fund the health and 

22          welfare benefits of retired state employees 

23          and their dependents.  While the goal may be 

24          laudable, this process seems somewhat 

                                                                  184

 1          convoluted.

 2                 I'd like to thank you for allowing us 

 3          to testify this afternoon on behalf of all 

 4          public employees, and did it within the time 

 5          frame allotted again.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, yes.  We 

 7          appreciate that very much.

 8                 PRESIDENT McPADDEN:  I know you have a 

 9          long day.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Any questions?

11                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  None.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Well, again, a very 

13          good job.  And we appreciate your input very 

14          much and look forward to working with you in 

15          the future.

16                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

17                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Being members, too.  

18          I'm four years away from 30 years.

19                 (Laughter.)

20                 PRESIDENT McPADDEN:  Please.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Our next speaker is 

22          Bruce Hamm, director of business engagement 

23          from the Manufacturers Association of Central 

24          New York.  

                                                                  185

 1                 MR. HAMM:  Members of the Senate and 

 2          Assembly, I'd like to thank you for the 

 3          opportunity to appear before you today.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Well, thank you for 

 5          coming.  Hopefully the roads were okay.

 6                 MR. HAMM:  They were.  Thank you very 

 7          much, Senator Young.  

 8                 For those of you -- I know many of you 

 9          know what MACNY is.  But for those who do not 

10          know what MACNY is, we are a manufacturing 

11          association representing over 300 companies, 

12          primarily based in Central New York but 

13          covering a 26-county area.  We are also the 

14          leader of the Manufacturers Alliance of 

15          New York, which is a group of six regional 

16          manufacturing associations who represent over 

17          2,000 companies.  

18                 MACNY over the last year has been 

19          actively engaged in creating registered 

20          apprenticeship training programs, and we 

21          would like to thank the members before us -- 

22          and all of them -- for the support they gave 

23          us last year.

24                 I'm here today to make just a couple 

                                                                  186

 1          of major points.  One, we appeared before you 

 2          last year and we asked for your support for 

 3          apprenticeship, thinking that it would be 

 4          successful.  I can sit here in complete 

 5          confidence and say we have been successful.  

 6          Apprenticeship has been very well received by 

 7          our membership, and we're here today to ask 

 8          you to expand it to other regions of the 

 9          state.

10                 We are an employer-led public/private 

11          pilot program, and this unique business-led 

12          approach is creating distinctive career 

13          pathways filling crucial needs within the 

14          industry.  We target incumbent-level, 

15          entry-level workers, and we move them into 

16          higher-skilled positions.  Currently we have 

17          over 30 companies actively participating in 

18          the apprenticeship.  

19                 We work with the New York State 

20          Department of Labor to function as a single 

21          program sponsor on behalf of our companies.  

22          This obviates the need for the companies to 

23          each register their programs with the 

24          Department of Labor.  It cuts a lot of red 

                                                                  187

 1          tape and speeds the process.  The Department 

 2          of Labor also likes this model because it 

 3          gives them a single point of contact for 

 4          multiple employers.

 5                 We have seen employers who would not 

 6          have otherwise entered into registered 

 7          apprenticeship programs absolutely love this 

 8          program.  We have actually heard from 

 9          companies in MACNY who we haven't heard from 

10          in years because of this program.

11                 So what we've done so far, we have 

12          identified five occupational groups -- CNC 

13          machinist, electronics technician, 

14          maintenance mechanic, toolmaker, and 

15          welder -- as high-demand areas to begin the 

16          training in for the pilot.  We have created 

17          all of the on-the-job training for these 

18          four-year programs, and we are well on our 

19          way to creating all of the required related 

20          instruction.  We have partnered with 

21          community colleges and national partners.

22                 In addition to getting this program 

23          underway, MACNY has been sought out as a 

24          partner in two major federal initiatives.  

                                                                  188

 1          One, an $8.5 million federal contract that 

 2          was won by Jobs for the Future; they reached 

 3          out to us as a partner to expand 

 4          apprenticeship.  And Monroe Community 

 5          College, who just won a $6 million America's 

 6          Promise federal grant, reached out to us to 

 7          help them with apprenticeship in the Finger 

 8          Lakes area.

 9                 We have been involved in this space 

10          for a number of years.  We are concerned with 

11          the pipeline into manufacturing, and we have 

12          done a number of things to increase the 

13          number of people coming into this pipeline.  

14          I can sit here today and say apprenticeship 

15          is working.  It hits a particular sweet spot 

16          for our manufacturers, which is that 

17          mid-level skilled job.

18                 Manufacturing is and will continue to 

19          be vital for New York.  Over 15,000 firms 

20          accounted for nearly a half-million jobs in 

21          New York in 2015.  We have an average annual 

22          salary in manufacturing approaching $65,000.  

23                 Just as an aside, one of the 

24          apprenticeships that we recently wrote, after 

                                                                  189

 1          four years in the apprenticeship, the 

 2          apprenticeship will finish with a salary of 

 3          $76,000.  Compare that to a four-year college 

 4          degree with probably a six-figure debt.

 5                 We think apprenticeship is a wonderful 

 6          vehicle for rebuilding and revitalizing our 

 7          workforce.  We are proposing the expansion 

 8          into the Capital District, the Finger Lakes, 

 9          and the Lower Hudson area for next year.  We 

10          would like to continue to expand this 

11          throughout the state.  

12                 New York State Department of Labor 

13          continues to be supportive of our approach.  

14          We have actually signed on as a partner in an 

15          apprenticeship expansion grant that they 

16          recently got from the federal government. 

17                 Our manufacturers know and trust us 

18          and we have the ability, through the 

19          alliance, to bring hundreds of small and 

20          medium-sized businesses to the table and 

21          increase dramatically the number of 

22          registered apprenticeship programs statewide.  

23                 Deloitte and the Manufacturing 

24          Institute has continued to do studies.  They 

                                                                  190

 1          are projecting, through 2025, that we will 

 2          have 3.4 million jobs open in manufacturing.  

 3          If we do nothing right now, 2 million of 

 4          those jobs will remain unfilled.  

 5                 Our companies locally are projecting 

 6          between 25 and 40 percent of their workforce 

 7          will retire in the next four years.  We will 

 8          cripple our existing businesses and we will 

 9          be unable to attract new businesses unless we 

10          get more young people, job changers, women, 

11          veterans and others into manufacturing jobs.  

12          Registered apprenticeship is a perfect and 

13          sustainable way to do this.  We must continue 

14          this effort.  

15                 We have accomplished much with our 

16          pilot program in well under one year.  We ask 

17          your support to bring this successful program 

18          to other regions of the state next year and 

19          in the years beyond.  

20                 We stand ready to work with you in 

21          this effort, and we thank you for your 

22          support.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

24          much.  And we appreciate you being here.  

                                                                  191

 1                 Great story that you're telling.  And 

 2          actually, as you know, the Senate majority 

 3          has had a Workforce Development Task Force 

 4          that made many recommendations, and certainly 

 5          the apprenticeship program expansion was a 

 6          key component of that agenda that we put 

 7          forward.  

 8                 We've heard over the years that there 

 9          are many manufacturers out there that were 

10          having trouble finding workers with the 

11          skills necessary to fill the jobs.  And 

12          that's across the entire state.

13                 So congratulations on getting this 

14          project underway.  We're very strongly 

15          supportive of these apprenticeship programs 

16          because of their effectiveness.  And it's 

17          great, because it's a win/win situation.  

18          It's a win/win because the manufacturers get 

19          skilled workers, and it's a win for the 

20          people of New York that are able to get 

21          family-sustaining jobs, good-paying jobs, and 

22          a career.

23                 So I think it's just great.  You know, 

24          you're talking about expansion in other areas 

                                                                  192

 1          of the state.  And what else can the 

 2          Legislature do to help to continue to build 

 3          on the success?

 4                 MR. HAMM:  Well, your support to date 

 5          has been absolutely wonderful.  And we're 

 6          actually a fairly inexpensive way to not only 

 7          build our workforce but increase the pay 

 8          levels of people out there as well.  So we 

 9          thank you for all you're doing and all you 

10          hopefully continue to do.

11                 We think that this particular 

12          program -- it's actually been around for 

13          decades, and what we did was we got away from 

14          it.  So I think encouraging us in getting 

15          back to this traditional way of training our 

16          workers, and your support in doing that, 

17          would be terrific.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  How do you spread 

19          the word?  Because you talk about different 

20          groups -- women, vets, young people.  And 

21          unfortunately, one of the cultural changes 

22          that we've seen over the years in upstate 

23          especially is that educators, parents tell 

24          their children that in order to have 

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 1          opportunities and a career, you have to leave 

 2          New York State.  And as you pointed out, 

 3          that's not the case, because there are 

 4          millions of jobs that could go unfilled in 

 5          the future.

 6                 So how do you contact people to get 

 7          involved in the apprenticeship program?  And 

 8          how can we get more people involved?  We want 

 9          to keep our young people, and we want 

10          underemployed people to be able to have those 

11          job opportunities too.

12                 MR. HAMM:  Senator, that's one of our 

13          biggest challenges.  

14                 I often give talks and talk about the 

15          image of manufacturing as dark, dirty, 

16          dangerous and dying.  Our kids and our 

17          parents are not encouraging kids to go into 

18          manufacturing.  It's one of our biggest 

19          challenges that we face.  

20                 We and others are continually working 

21          with continuing education programs in the 

22          schools.  We are involved in two P-TECHs, 

23          Pathways in Technology, Early College High 

24          School.  We would urge continued support of 

                                                                  194

 1          those as pathways into manufacturing.  

 2                 We need more career-awareness 

 3          activities.  There are many things that are 

 4          not in this request today that actually 

 5          increase the pipeline into manufacturing and 

 6          getting the word out.  Several have talked at 

 7          times about even a publicity campaign about, 

 8          you know, what kinds of jobs are available in 

 9          manufacturing now.  

10                 I've been at probably over 30 

11          companies in the last three months, and they 

12          are clean, they are safe, you can practically 

13          eat off the floors in some of these places.  

14          They have clean rooms where literally 

15          manufacturing is done under antiseptic 

16          conditions.  So you know, these jobs that 

17          exist, I think we need to let people know 

18          about them.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I also think that 

20          we have an issue with an aging workforce in 

21          many of the manufacturer facilities.  And 

22          could you address that a little bit?  Because 

23          I see it in my own district, where we have 

24          manufacturers that have people who have 

                                                                  195

 1          worked there for 30, 40-plus years, they're 

 2          ready to retiree, and there doesn't seem to 

 3          be a pipeline of new, trained workers ready 

 4          to take their places.

 5                 MR. HAMM:  Senator, you've hit the 

 6          nail on the head.  The average age of the 

 7          skilled workforce in this country is 56 years 

 8          old, which means we have 10 years to turn 

 9          this around.  We need to capture the 

10          knowledge of those retiring people, and 

11          apprenticeship is one of the most ideal ways 

12          to do that.  

13                 Each apprentice has a mentor or a 

14          person who teaches them their craft.  And if 

15          we don't get to these folks before they 

16          retire, that knowledge will be lost from the 

17          workplace.  And that will have a devastating 

18          impact.  So this actually plays exactly into 

19          what you said.  It's truly capturing the 

20          knowledge of these folks before they retire.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

22                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  FÈlix Ortiz.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN ORTIZ:  Thank you, 

24          Mr. Chairman.  

                                                                  196

 1                 And I just have just a few follow-up 

 2          questions, quickly, regarding the outreach.  

 3          How can we help you to do the outreach?  I 

 4          represent a district in the areas of 

 5          Brooklyn, in Sunset Park and Red Hook.  

 6                 When we talk about job opportunity and 

 7          trying to develop workforce development, I 

 8          will tell you that if I can give my children 

 9          the opportunity to learn something else, they 

10          will.  

11                 So my question to you is, how can we 

12          help you to spread the word and to do the 

13          outreach in our minority communities as well?

14                 MR. HAMM:  Assemblyman, I'm not sure I 

15          have a good answer for you today.  But we 

16          would love to work with members of both the 

17          Senate and the Assembly in the coming months 

18          and years to continue to publicize this.  I 

19          don't have a specific plan for you today, but 

20          we'd love to discuss that going forward.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN ORTIZ:  And my other 

22          question is, you know, what is the 

23          relationship that you have probably with the 

24          vocational schools, the trade schools and the 

                                                                  197

 1          high schools, in order to promote what you're 

 2          trying to accomplish within your organization 

 3          that you represent?

 4                 MR. HAMM:  Actually, I'd love to tell 

 5          you a great story.  The Syracuse City School 

 6          District has recently added 22 continuing 

 7          technical education programs, and they have 

 8          doubled the enrollment in those programs.  

 9          And we serve on a Partnership Council with 

10          them to promote and bring business leaders to 

11          the table.

12                 As I said, we are the business partner 

13          in two P-TECHs, and we continue to support 

14          that.  I actually will be going to an 

15          advisory committee meeting for our local 

16          BOCES this evening.  

17                 So manufacturers in our group are 

18          actively involved in promoting this in the 

19          schools.  Recently, under the tech grant, we 

20          worked with 23 community colleges to align 

21          curriculum in advanced manufacturing.  

22                 So we're doing as much as we can, and 

23          we're encouraging others to do the same.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN ORTIZ:  Mr. Hamm, I'm 

                                                                  198

 1          looking forward to working with you.  I do 

 2          represent a very underserved site in the 

 3          Sunset Park and Red Hook community in 

 4          Brooklyn, which is up-and-coming.  And we do 

 5          have a lot of manufacturers there.  And I 

 6          will say to you that I do reach out to my 

 7          high schools and the companies that work to 

 8          provide services and jobs in that particular 

 9          community, to engage them in internship 

10          programs as well as through the summer.  So I 

11          hope that we can have a conversation to 

12          follow up on this conversation.  

13                 Thank you very much for your 

14          testimony.

15                 MR. HAMM:  Thank you.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN ORTIZ:  Thank you, 

17          Mr. Chairman.

18                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

19                 We've been joined by Assemblyman 

20          Pretlow.

21                 Senator?  

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Savino.

23                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.  

24                 Less of a question, because I actually 

                                                                  199

 1          had two questions and you've luckily answered 

 2          them in your testimony, so I will save you 

 3          the time of reiterating it.  

 4                 Like Assemblyman Ortiz, I also cover 

 5          parts of Sunset Park and that area that's 

 6          commonly referred to as Industry City, and 

 7          it's a reemerging manufacturing area.  

 8                 I just want to say we want to thank 

 9          you for your support for the Buy America 

10          plan.  It's now been included in the 

11          Governor's budget.  It's a priority for the 

12          Senate, it's been a priority for the 

13          Independent Democratic Conference, and we 

14          think it's critical that we create these 

15          skilled jobs with a future and a pathway, you 

16          know, out of poverty into a real middle-class 

17          job.  

18                 So I just want to thank you for your 

19          commitment to it and for helping us create 

20          that workforce of the future.

21                 MR. HAMM:  One of the beauties, I 

22          think, of the manufacturing associations that 

23          exist in New York is they create those supply 

24          chains for New York manufacturers to buy from 

                                                                  200

 1          each other and to buy locally and to buy 

 2          nationally.  So we very definitely support 

 3          that.

 4                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So you're off the 

 6          hook, but we really appreciate you coming -- 

 7          oops, I'll turn my mic on.  So you're off the 

 8          hook because I think we're done with our 

 9          questioning, but we truly appreciate all of 

10          the informative advice that you've given, and 

11          input, and look forward to working with you 

12          in the future.

13                 MR. HAMM:  We look forward to working 

14          with you as well.  Thank you very much.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

16          Wonderful.  

17                 Next up we have Melinda Mack, 

18          executive director of the New York 

19          Association of Training and Employment 

20          Professionals.

21                 Thank you for coming today.

22                 MS. MACK:  Thank you so much for 

23          having me.  I appreciate it.  

24                 I'm not going to read directly from my 

                                                                  201

 1          testimony, recognizing that you're always 

 2          running a bit over.  So I'm going to provide 

 3          you some of the key points that I want to 

 4          make sure you walk away with today.  

 5                 Again, my name is Melinda Mack.  I'm 

 6          the executive director of the New York 

 7          Association of Training and Employment 

 8          Professionals.  Again, we want to thank you 

 9          for not only having us here today, but also 

10          for the series of hearings that you conducted 

11          in the past year or so and, again, your 

12          continued focus on workforce development.  As 

13          you know, it's a critical issue, as you've 

14          just described, to the state, and also a 

15          continued issue and area of focus for the 

16          Governor's office as well.  

17                 I think our biggest concern is as  

18          much as we talk about the importance of 

19          investing in skills, specifically for 

20          creating a skilled workforce, the focus 

21          doesn't translate to funding.  And so we 

22          consistently hear again and again how we need 

23          a skilled workforce, how we need to make sure 

24          the alternative pipelines are being sort of 

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 1          developed so that individuals who are 

 2          underemployed, working part-time, adults, 

 3          low-skill youth and others, are accessing 

 4          opportunities for skilled labor.  But 

 5          traditionally we see those funds either fall 

 6          completely flat or see very tiny increases 

 7          year over year.  So again, the funding is not 

 8          reflecting the severity of the issue.

 9                 One area that I think is important for 

10          us to just keep our eye on, the federal 

11          funding is what funds and props up our 

12          workforce system in this state.  The network 

13          of community-based organizations, the network 

14          of federally funded workforce development 

15          programs which make up the bulk of our 

16          workforce system are in jeopardy this year, 

17          as you can imagine.  We've just recently seen 

18          a report from the Heritage Foundation that 

19          completely zeroes out federal workforce 

20          funding.  If that's the case, we will not 

21          have a workforce system in the State of New 

22          York.  

23                 So I encourage you again to take a 

24          look at what we're hoping to accomplish as a 

                                                                  203

 1          state, how we're trying to tackle this issue 

 2          of having an unskilled labor force that needs 

 3          to really be able to take on these jobs of 

 4          the future, and think much more creatively 

 5          about how we address this issue.

 6                 What I want to also underscore is 

 7          because we already have a federally funded 

 8          workforce development system, we have a 

 9          system that operates in all 62 counties of 

10          the state, we don't need to create something 

11          new.  I think we often see, especially as we 

12          talk about economic development, in workforce 

13          development community there's this affinity 

14          for creating a great big brand-new 

15          initiative.  What I'm sharing with you today 

16          is we have an incredibly successful system, a 

17          network of organizations and entities across 

18          the state that are just dramatically 

19          underfunded.  In New York City alone, they 

20          serve close to 150,000 people per year 

21          through the system, 8,000 businesses.  The 

22          Finger Lakes as well serves -- I have here 

23          4500 New Yorkers, 120 businesses.  Rochester 

24          as well.  

                                                                  204

 1                 So again, in thinking about this 

 2          network of folks, we need to again think 

 3          about the investments we should be making in 

 4          their education, training, and economic and 

 5          workforce development.

 6                 A couple of the ideas that we've put 

 7          forward to you, as you're thinking about 

 8          solutions -- again, we don't want to diminish 

 9          any of the investments in the traditional 

10          education pipeline.  So K-12, P-TECH, 

11          college, et cetera.  What we're hoping is 

12          that you recognize the importance of many of 

13          the different types of initiatives that help 

14          New Yorkers get skills -- so the 

15          apprenticeship programs, as Bruce just 

16          mentioned, as well as the on-the-job 

17          training, incumbent worker training, 

18          unionized or union-based workforce programs.  

19          Public libraries have terrific workforce 

20          development programs -- again, that 

21          traditionally go unfunded.  

22                 A way that I want to sort of 

23          underscore again the importance here is if 

24          you look at some of the more recent labor 

                                                                  205

 1          market data that's come out, specifically 

 2          from the American Community Survey, 

 3          40 percent of New Yorkers have a high school 

 4          diploma or less.  Forty percent of New 

 5          Yorkers have a high school diploma or less.  

 6          How are we going to meet that gap when we're 

 7          starting to talk about these high-tech 

 8          investments, these investments in clean 

 9          energy, these higher-tech, higher-skilled 

10          jobs?  

11                 I don't want to be in a situation 

12          where we are importing labor.  I think we 

13          obviously need to keep the folks who are 

14          graduating from our colleges to stay.  But I 

15          think more importantly, the folks who live in 

16          these communities that are going to be 

17          benefiting from this economic development 

18          should have the opportunity to be able to 

19          train and be skilled up to take the jobs that 

20          are going to be happening and occurring in 

21          their local communities.  

22                 So again, we encourage you to take a 

23          look at the data, think about some of the 

24          pipeline issues, especially as you're looking 

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 1          at some of the new investments coming down 

 2          from the Governor's office.

 3                 This year in the Governor's office -- 

 4          again, previously we've seen very little 

 5          investment from the Executive Budget, meaning 

 6          redirecting of federal workforce dollars to 

 7          job training.  We do see some of those 

 8          redirects this year, again which we're in 

 9          support of.  There's a million dollars that 

10          will be coming out for youth workforce 

11          training, specifically out of the 

12          Environmental Protection Fund, related to 

13          youth training and clean energy jobs.  There 

14          also is an additional $5 million for the 

15          Summer Youth Employment program, which is 

16          TANF dollars.  Of course we're supportive of 

17          that as well.  

18                 There also is an additional $5 million 

19          in the state's discretionary budget, specific 

20          Federal Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act 

21          funds that will be redirected to do high-tech 

22          job training.  There also is another 5 to 

23          $10 million -- I'm sure as you're aware, 

24          Senator Young, for some programs out in 

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 1          Western New York related to advanced 

 2          manufacturing.  As I'm sure you also have 

 3          questions, we're not entirely sure how that's 

 4          supposed to play out or how those resources 

 5          are invested or how much of that money is 

 6          actually associated with job training.  So we 

 7          have some questions about that as well.

 8                 And then the last thing I want to 

 9          mention around funding is traditionally the 

10          workforce system funded by tax credits.  And 

11          so when we think about the big dollar signs 

12          that we see coming out of the Executive 

13          Budget each year, those dollars are not 

14          actual dollars, they're tax credits being 

15          provided to companies for hiring.  We know 

16          that you can't translate necessarily 

17          $50 million in youth tax credits into 

18          $50 million of workforce development funding.  

19          But again, we want to create a recognition 

20          that propping up a system with just federal 

21          funds and tax credits, you're not creating 

22          the skilled workforce you need for the folks 

23          who are looking for workers.

24                 So we have a couple of ideas.  First 

                                                                  208

 1          we'd like the Legislature to consider 

 2          establishing a skills fund, some sort of 

 3          statewide skills fund.  

 4                 We know each year the Legislature has 

 5          some discretion, anywhere between $7 million 

 6          and $15 million that you do put back into the 

 7          budget for workforce development.  We think 

 8          there's an opportunity to create an education 

 9          and training fund that allows a wide network 

10          of partnerships to be able to apply for 

11          resources to do job training.  As you know, 

12          job training is local.  The employers are 

13          local.  Regional partnerships and 

14          coordination of those regional partnerships 

15          would really benefit from this type of fund.

16                 We also ask you to be creative and 

17          think about how we use and spend our economic 

18          development resources.  We believe very 

19          strongly that workforce development is a 

20          critical, often absent component of economic 

21          development.  We'd like to ask for you to 

22          consider changing the rules for the economic 

23          development fund resources to allow an 

24          allowable use to be funding workforce 

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 1          development.  If we talk about capital 

 2          improvements, we should also be talking about 

 3          human capital improvements that are 

 4          associated with economic and workforce 

 5          development.  

 6                 And then finally -- and I know this is 

 7          something that Assemblymember Bronson has 

 8          brought up in past -- we'd like to establish 

 9          a wage data clearinghouse.  One thing we 

10          often hear is that we don't know any of the 

11          outcomes.  We don't know whether or not these 

12          programs lead to employment.  Our members and 

13          the folks who we benefit across the state are 

14          really committed to having high-quality 

15          workforce programs.  We'd love there to be 

16          some sort of spot, some central spot that the 

17          state supports and sponsors that allows us to 

18          demonstrate effectiveness of these programs.  

19          And so we encourage you to think about that 

20          as well.  

21                 That's it for now.  Thank you.  

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

23          much.  

24                 I do have a couple of questions.  One 

                                                                  210

 1          of the concerns that I've had over the years 

 2          is that there seems to be a disconnect 

 3          between what's being taught in our public 

 4          schools and what's being promoted, and the 

 5          disconnect is between the curriculum and the 

 6          local labor workforce needs.  And I'm sure 

 7          you've seen that yourself.  

 8                 Our Workforce Development Task Force 

 9          in the Senate began to address that this past 

10          year.  But what ideas do you have to 

11          strengthen those connections?  Because I 

12          think that if a lot of students knew what the 

13          local labor needs were, they could get better 

14          prepared, maybe get acquainted with a 

15          potential career opportunity that may be out 

16          there.  

17                 But right now, again, as I stated to 

18          the previous speaker there seems to be a 

19          cultural element where people think that 

20          young people, especially -- and they're our 

21          greatest export, unfortunately -- but they 

22          feel that they need to leave for other areas 

23          of the country rather than staying in 

24          New York.  

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 1                 So do you have any input on that 

 2          problem, or do your association members work 

 3          on that in their communities?  

 4                 MS. MACK:  So yes and yes.  

 5                 So the good news is many of the folks 

 6          across our association do invest in summer 

 7          programs, in summer youth programs, and also 

 8          youth programs writ large across the state.  

 9          I think the number-one way to get a young 

10          person excited about a job is to give them a 

11          job.  Right?  To have that work experience.  

12          I learned pretty early I didn't want to make 

13          pizzas the rest of my life.  Right?  

14                 So again, that early exposure to work, 

15          the ability to try out different occupations 

16          is again one of the ways that we've found 

17          young people either get excited about a 

18          profession, learn about the types of 

19          opportunities that are available, not only 

20          across their community but also in a much 

21          more broad sense.  I grew up in Western 

22          New York, I'm from Buffalo originally.  I 

23          went to school in Western New York, I went to 

24          the University at Buffalo.  My husband and I 

                                                                  212

 1          -- I often talk about the fact that at that 

 2          point I was the first person in my family to 

 3          really go to college.  And my family knew 

 4          nothing about the SUNY system.  You know, 

 5          when I moved to New York City years later and 

 6          folks talked about going to Brown, I was, 

 7          "What's Brown?  Is that a real college?"  

 8          Right?  You only know what you're exposed to.  

 9                 And so I think one of the things we 

10          really need to do is think about ways that we 

11          bring industry back into the school system.  

12          Also, expose young people to opportunities to 

13          learn and earn much earlier on.  And also, 

14          more importantly, to make sure that the 

15          business community recognizes that they have 

16          some role and responsibility in exposing 

17          their broader community -- not just young 

18          people, but, you know, communities of color, 

19          communities that normally don't traditionally 

20          access certain occupations, what this 

21          community is about and what these types of 

22          occupations can serve.

23                 And so, again, we have many of our 

24          members who invest some of their youth 

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 1          programming money in providing sort of really 

 2          intense experiences.  In the Finger Lakes, 

 3          there's something called Finger Lakes Works 

 4          with Their Hands.  It's a full exposure to 

 5          advanced manufacturing opportunities where 

 6          they bring in employers, young people come 

 7          in, they get to try out a bunch of different 

 8          things and meet with different businesses.  

 9          And I think folks are recognizing we need to 

10          do much more pipeline work because of some of 

11          these systemic issues we're seeing in terms 

12          of placing folks into employment.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

14                 I know you pointed out that 40 percent 

15          of New Yorkers only have a high school 

16          education or less.  And I think that there 

17          are ways that, you know, especially with 

18          trades or whatever, not everyone is going to 

19          be college-bound.  And we have to figure out 

20          ways so that students can be successful in 

21          life, they can find a career that really 

22          ignites their passion, excites them to get up 

23          everyday to go to work, and also fulfill the 

24          workforce needs.  

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 1                 So I thank you for everything that 

 2          you're doing along those regards.

 3                 MS. MACK:  Thank you.  And I think 

 4          just to underscore on that, I think when we 

 5          talk about students, we just need to make 

 6          sure we also talk about adults, right, 

 7          working adults.  Because many of the folks 

 8          who we recognize as part of that metric are 

 9          folks over the age of 25.  And so of course 

10          the youth issue is an incredibly important 

11          issue, but we have many working-poor adults 

12          in this state that aren't receiving the 

13          appropriate training they need to get out of 

14          poverty.  

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Exactly.  And there 

16          are so many people who are underemployed 

17          right now who want to get a good-paying job 

18          so they can have a good quality of life for 

19          their families, and that's why we need to 

20          really focus on these training issues.

21                 So again, thank you.

22                 MS. MACK:  Thank you.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Assemblyman?  

24          Anybody?

                                                                  215

 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 2                 MS. MACK:  Thank you very much.  We 

 3          appreciate it.  Take care.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 5                 Next we have David Ng, government and 

 6          external relations manager from the Human 

 7          Services Council.

 8                 MR. NG:  Good afternoon.  Good 

 9          afternoon, Senators and members of the 

10          Assembly.  Thank you all for giving me the 

11          opportunity to come testify before you today.  

12          My name is David Ng.  I'm here on behalf of 

13          the Human Services Council.  We're an 

14          umbrella nonprofit organization consisting of 

15          members who are nonprofits across New York 

16          State.  I'm here to talk to you about the 

17          human services workforce today.  

18                 Fifteen percent of New York's 

19          workforce is from the human services, and the 

20          state spends $10 billion on 9,000 contracts 

21          with 5,000 nonprofits.  The Human Services 

22          Council is part of the Restore Opportunity 

23          Now campaign, which is a coalition of human 

24          services providers across the State of 

                                                                  216

 1          New York, and we're advocating for, in the 

 2          upcoming state budget, the funding of the 

 3          $15 minimum wage in human services contracts.  

 4                 We've been partnering with many 

 5          members of the Senate and the Assembly, and 

 6          we want to thank Senator Savino, who has been 

 7          a really strong advocate for us and a leader 

 8          for human services providers.  

 9                 You know, one of the biggest 

10          challenges that we have is, you know, we are 

11          essentially an extension of government in 

12          providing human services to the public, but 

13          unfortunately sometimes the government 

14          doesn't fully invest properly in our sector.  

15          And while the minimum-wage increase is a 

16          great step in helping workers in New York 

17          State earn a better wage and alleviate 

18          poverty, the fact that the state did not 

19          provide funding to human services providers 

20          to implement that $15 minimum wage is a huge 

21          challenge for our organizations.  Many of us 

22          are struggling to make ends meet and to 

23          provide services as it is, and without the 

24          proper investment from the state, it 

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 1          definitely is going to impact the way we 

 2          provide services and the quality of services 

 3          that we're able to offer.

 4                 I just want to emphasize that, you 

 5          know, our workforce is actually predominantly 

 6          women and people of color, and by investing 

 7          in our workforce we're really trying to 

 8          invest in some of the most vulnerable 

 9          populations and communities across the State 

10          of New York.

11                 Again, the goal for fiscal year 2018 

12          is to fund this minimum wage by all direct 

13          human services contracts, both direct and 

14          Medicaid-reimbursed, which would cost 

15          $12 million for just fiscal year 2018.  The 

16          Executive Budget didn't include any of this, 

17          and this is going to be a huge issue for us.  

18                 One of the things the Executive Budget 

19          did was also eliminate the planned 0.8 

20          percent human services cost of living 

21          adjustment, and it discontinued the 

22          underutilized COLA which was enacted in 2015 

23          to certain direct care workers and direct 

24          service providers.  This COLA was 

                                                                  218

 1          underutilized -- not for the lack of need, 

 2          but because the Department of Health and 

 3          State Office for the Aging could not figure 

 4          out how to administer it.  It is disingenuous 

 5          to label this COLA that was underutilized as 

 6          a savings of $4 million.  

 7                 You know, these workers truly deserve 

 8          this cost of living adjustment increase.  

 9          We've been advocating for it for a long time.  

10          And the fact that the state agency wasn't 

11          able to implement it, caused it to be taken 

12          back, is really unfortunate.  

13                 As I said before, the lack of 

14          investment from the state really does hamper 

15          the way we deliver services and the quality 

16          of service that we provide to the people of 

17          New York across the state.  We partner a lot 

18          of times with your offices in providing those 

19          services to your constituents.  And the fact 

20          that the state isn't able to properly invest 

21          in our sector and invest in these workers is 

22          really going to impact the way we're able to 

23          serve your communities as well.  

24                 We really do appreciate that the state 

                                                                  219

 1          is looking into working with us to provide a 

 2          career ladder program for our workers.  You 

 3          know, as a person who started out in the 

 4          nonprofit sector as a front-line worker 

 5          myself in providing assistance to small 

 6          business owners, to tenants, to homeowners, 

 7          being able to have a program to help me 

 8          ascend up the ladder in this sector is 

 9          extremely beneficial.  

10                 However, if there isn't the proper 

11          wages to -- the funding of those wages to 

12          invest in this sector, it really is not 

13          helpful in the sense that, you know, the 

14          sector will face retention issues and workers 

15          will not be able to stay to utilize that 

16          career ladder.  

17                 So we hope that we can work with the 

18          state legislators in the upcoming year to 

19          really make sure that the state properly 

20          invests in our sector through our workers.

21                 Thank you.  

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

23          much.  

24                 And I know that many of my colleagues 

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 1          and I are concerned about human service 

 2          workers and the impact of the budget on them.  

 3          So we appreciate it that you're here.

 4                 Senator Savino.

 5                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, David.

 6                 I just have a question about the 

 7          effect of the minimum wage on the nonprofit 

 8          sector and how much really is necessary so 

 9          that we can make you whole.  

10                 I mean, we've spoken in the past about 

11          I think it's long past time for us to 

12          acknowledge that we should not be equating 

13          human service workers with others at the 

14          minimum wage.  We've had this conversation.  

15          It's how we value the work that your 

16          employees are performing -- they're taking 

17          care of our elderly, our sick, our 

18          developmentally disabled.  The idea that they 

19          should be, you know, the equivalent to 

20          someone who puts a pizza in a box I think is 

21          offensive on so many levels.

22                 But there's a concern that there's not 

23          enough money in the proposed budget to meet 

24          the new statutory minimum.  And what exactly 

                                                                  221

 1          do we need to provide to get you where you 

 2          are and also, I believe, to recognize the 

 3          value of this work?  

 4                 MR. NG:  Sure.  So -- and again, 

 5          Senator Savino, we really thank you for your 

 6          leadership on behalf of the human services 

 7          workers.

 8                 You know, human services workers are, 

 9          like you said, not just minimum-wage workers, 

10          they're very skilled.  Many of them have 

11          college degrees, sometimes graduate degrees, 

12          and they're certified workers.  When the $15 

13          minimum wage was passed, it was a very good 

14          step in the right direction.  And we wish we 

15          were having a conversation about wage 

16          compression, about workers who are, you know, 

17          making slightly above $15 and getting them to 

18          their proper salaries and making sure that 

19          there is proper investment in the sector.  

20                 But unfortunately, we're not even at 

21          that point yet.  To not even have the 

22          $15 minimum wage be funded for our workers is 

23          hugely problematic for our organizations.  If 

24          our organizations are not strong and sound, 

                                                                  222

 1          we won't exist to even provide jobs for these 

 2          workers.  

 3                 So while I do really appreciate, you 

 4          know, having a conversation with the 

 5          Legislature about wage compression, about 

 6          adequate funding for the workforce and for 

 7          the sector, the important thing right now is 

 8          that to even get the $15 minimum wage funded 

 9          by the state.

10                 SENATOR SAVINO:  And do you have a 

11          dollar amount that is necessary to get us to 

12          that funding level?

13                 MR. NG:  So the amount that we're 

14          asking for the funding of the $15 minimum 

15          wage for this fiscal year is $12 million.  We 

16          are working still on the numbers because, as 

17          you know, it's staggered in different regions 

18          of the state.  So we're working on those 

19          numbers with the Fiscal Policy Institute.  

20          And that's something we can definitely follow 

21          up with you on after this.

22                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Okay.  And just to be 

23          clear, the workers that you represent or 

24          sector that you represent is what?  

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 1                 MR. NG:  It is human services workers 

 2          and Medicaid-funded workers that contract 

 3          with the state.

 4                 SENATOR SAVINO:  But not OPWDD 

 5          contracted agencies.

 6                 MR. NG:  They are.  They are.

 7                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Oh, they're included 

 8          as well?  Okay.

 9                 MR. NG:  There's a different 

10          campaign -- a parallel campaign of 

11          developmental disability workers, Be Fair to 

12          Direct Care, and we're working closely with 

13          them as well.

14                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Okay.  And I think 

15          just for our purposes, it might be helpful if 

16          you all kind of got together and presented us 

17          with a dollar amount that would affect the 

18          entire sector, because it gets a little 

19          confusing of which direct care workers we're 

20          talking about.  We don't want to leave 

21          anybody out.  If we're going to try and solve 

22          the problem, we want to make sure we solve 

23          the whole problem and not only a little bit 

24          of the problem.

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 1                 MR. NG:  Right.  Yeah.  We'll be sure 

 2          to present that to you as the conversation 

 3          continues.

 4                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Assemblyman?  

 6                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Yes.  FÈlix Ortiz.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN ORTIZ:  Hi, Dave.  Just to 

 8          follow up on the Senator's question, just on 

 9          the structure of the folks that you 

10          represent, are they also like housekeeping, 

11          maintenance providers as well as staff people 

12          within the structure of the organization?

13                 MR. NG:  So we represent -- so when 

14          we're talking about the funding, it's really 

15          to human services providers.  So that's, you 

16          know, homeless services, education service, 

17          youth services that contract with the state, 

18          and including, you know, Medicaid-funded 

19          workers and developmental disability workers.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN ORTIZ:  Medicaid 

21          reimbursement.  You get Medicaid 

22          reimbursement, correct?

23                 MR. NG:  Sorry?

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN ORTIZ:  The organizations 

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 1          get Medicaid reimbursement?

 2                 MR. NG:  I'm not understanding the 

 3          question.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN ORTIZ:  The organization, 

 5          the people that work for you and provide 

 6          those services, the organizations get 

 7          reimbursement through Medicaid; correct?

 8                 MR. NG:  Yes.  Yes.  Those that are 

 9          Medicaid-funded, mm-hmm.  

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN ORTIZ:  I would like to 

11          make a point, Mr. Chairman.  

12                 I used to be the executive director of 

13          one of those providers myself, many years 

14          ago, and I will tell you that some of these 

15          folks that work in the trenches, sometimes 

16          they're making it sometimes just at the level 

17          of the minimum wage.  And I will encourage 

18          that we as a legislature look into these 

19          organizations very, very seriously.  

20                 Especially -- David is correct -- at 

21          the point where these organizations are 

22          providing the services that the state and 

23          some of the municipalities cannot provide, we 

24          should be able to help them to make sure that 

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 1          they do not lose, first of all, their 

 2          services; secondly, that we don't create a 

 3          very overcrowded unemployment rate in the 

 4          State of New York, in the municipalities, as 

 5          a result of the increase of the minimum wage.  

 6                 I am a very big supporter of the 

 7          minimum wage.  I do believe everybody should 

 8          be making above what is doable for them to 

 9          have a great living, especially in the City 

10          of New York.  And I will encourage you to 

11          make sure that you will be able to come out 

12          with some econometric model and cost-benefit 

13          analysis that we can look very closely at to 

14          see how we can be helpful.  

15                 Thank you very much for your 

16          testimony.

17                 MR. NG:  Thank you.  

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  All right.  Well, 

19          thank you so much for coming.  We appreciate 

20          it.

21                 MR. NG:  And thank you all for your 

22          support.  Thank you.

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  Have a 

24          good day.

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 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And finally, we 

 2          have Kevin Stump, Northeast director, from 

 3          the Young Invincibles.

 4                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  To close.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  As Assemblyman 

 6          Farrell says, to close.

 7                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Hey, I remember you.

 8                 (Laughter.)

 9                 MR. STUMP:  Long time no see.

10                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Do you have the same 

11          testimony?  

12                 MR. STUMP:  No, no, no.  Our group, 

13          Young Invincibles, works on healthcare, 

14          higher ed, and workforce development stuff, 

15          so that's what brings us here again.

16                 So good afternoon.  We're a little 

17          earlier in the day than we were yesterday, so 

18          I think we're all happy about that.  

19                 I'm also not going to read from my 

20          testimony but just, very briefly, share a few 

21          points that we want to bring here today.  

22                 You have our latest report, called 

23          "Sounding the Alarm:  New York's Young Adult 

24          Unemployment Crisis and the Need for 

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 1          State-Based Reforms."  This report does a few 

 2          things.  One is, it really outlines in detail 

 3          the youth unemployment crisis that we're 

 4          facing across the state.  We're talking about 

 5          a 15 percent youth unemployment rate, which 

 6          is very consistent across the state.  It goes 

 7          as high as 21, 22 percent, depending on where 

 8          you are, and for African-Americans across New 

 9          York State, on average, it's 25 percent.

10                 We're talking about a population 

11          that's 16 to 24 who are not working and are 

12          not in school.  This should put lawmakers on 

13          alert.  And that's the kind of first part of 

14          what we're saying here.  

15                 Then we take a closer look at the 

16          Urban Youth Jobs Tax Credit, which is, as you 

17          know, a $50 million tax credit that provides 

18          $5,000 tax credits to employers over the 

19          course of two years who hire and retain 

20          disadvantaged young adults.  

21                 In our research in talking with 

22          employers, we found that employers do not 

23          really value this.  They would much rather 

24          have a trained-up young adult worker over a 

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 1          small-dollar tax credit that for many is 

 2          really a pain to get.

 3                 So what we're basically saying is that 

 4          take this $50 million investment -- which is 

 5          a good investment, a good initial investment 

 6          into being the state's single largest youth 

 7          job strategy -- and repurpose those dollars 

 8          to focus on training up the most 

 9          disadvantaged young adults, which is what 

10          this program is targeting.  

11                 One of the first things that we wanted 

12          to focus on today, which, you know, was great 

13          to hear about in earlier testimonies, was 

14          expanding apprenticeship opportunities for 

15          disadvantaged youth.  And so we're talking 

16          about an idea that we are supportive of, with 

17          Assemblymember Bronson, who was here earlier, 

18          passing and funding the Empire State 

19          Apprenticeship Program, which would still 

20          provide some level of tax credits to soften 

21          some of the resources that it would take to 

22          take on an apprentice, but would also come 

23          with training outcomes directly linked to 

24          long-term employment.

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 1                 So with that -- and also in the back 

 2          of our report, we have a few other 

 3          strategies.  With that, I would like to leave 

 4          us on a question that we have around our tax 

 5          credit strategy broadly.  Using the Urban 

 6          Youth Jobs program as a case study, there is 

 7          no evidence that suggests the efficacy of 

 8          these types of programs that would warrant 

 9          not just an increase in funding over the last 

10          several years, but that would really warrant 

11          an extension of five years at the $50 million 

12          level, considering that we have such high 

13          youth unemployment and so many young adults 

14          that lack the skills necessary to really 

15          enter the workforce in a meaningful way.

16                 So with that, thank you for giving us 

17          another chance here today.  And I look 

18          forward to meeting with all of you and 

19          working with you to address youth 

20          unemployment.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

22          much.

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So that concludes 

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 1          the joint budget hearing on workforce 

 2          development.  I want to thank everyone for 

 3          their participation today.  And we'll see you 

 4          next week.  

 5                 (Whereupon, the budget hearing 

 6          concluded at 1:55 p.m.)

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