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PEF points out NYS budget weak spots

PEF President Wayne Spence led a group of the union’s members testifying at three joint legislative hearings held February 3 and 4 in Albany on the governor’s 2016-17 Executive Budget proposal.

Hearings on mental hygiene and the state workforce were held back-to-back in a marathon session Wednesday, February 3. Spence told lawmakers at the workforce hearing that while the budget calls for no layoffs or new plans for closing state facilities, it fails to adequately address the chronic understaffing of many agencies that forces them to rely on costly overtime and private consultants to cover the gaps.

The legislators had many questions for Spence and the other PEF members including Ed Snow and Virginia Davey who testified at the Mental Hygiene hearing, as well as member Stephanie McLean Beathley who testified separately representing the group Save Western NY Children’s Psychiatric Center.

At the hearing on public protection February 4, Nikki Brate, Steven Drake and Paul Rigby presented PEF’s concerns and responded to numerous questions from legislators who asked for additional private meetings with PEF to further explore the issues.

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