The Examiner

No. Castle Fires Labor Negotiator for Breach of Confidentiality

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The North Castle Town Board terminated the contract of the municipality’s labor negotiator Wednesday night two weeks after former supervisor Howard Arden revealed that he had spoken with the consultant regarding the town’s recent CSEA contract talks.

The board unanimously agreed to sever ties with Michael Richardson after it was confirmed to officials that he had discussed issues related to the CSEA Unit I and II contract negotiations with Arden.

Supervisor Michael Schiliro said when Richardson was questioned about Arden’s claims, he acknowledged his conversation with the previous supervisor.

“In that job, you’ve got to have, there’s an expected level of confidentiality,” Supervisor Michael Schiliro said after Wednesday night’s meeting. “I can’t go into what was discussed but the fact that there was a discussion outside of anything personal between the two…the conversation should have never occurred in the first place.”

At the town board’s June 25 meeting, where a new five-year contract with the CSEA was approved retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012, Arden was one of several residents who criticized the board’s handling of the negotiations and for failing to more effectively inform the public about the contract’s key provisions. Arden, whose administration sought to find a resolution with the CSEA on the stalled negotiations, said at that meeting that he had talked with Richardson recently and claimed that current officials had forced him out of the process.

Schiliro and Town Administrator Joan Goldberg immediately denied that allegation. Goldberg had said that Richardson was used to negotiate with both units and he remained under contract with the town through 2016.

Board members will discuss among themselves how they should go about replacing Richardson, Schiliro said.

The town has been trying to negotiate a new contract with the Police Benevolent Association, without a deal since the end of 2010, he said. Library staff are also working under an expired contract. Schiliro said that until a replacement is found, Goldberg will take the lead on the negotiations.

North White Plains resident Ed Lobermann urged town officials to seek out the best labor attorney they can find. Richardson was not a lawyer.

Although Richardson had his detractors for his hard-nosed tactics, Schiliro said that he had many attributes, including his “economic approach” to negotiating the town’s contracts in changing times.


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