Watertown's mayor is throwing his support behind Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to change the way communities settle contracts with police and firefighters.
As the state legislative session winds down, Jeff Graham is urging lawmakers to approve the measure, which changes the rules for binding arbitration.
In a release, Graham calls it "one of the most onerous mandates placed on local governments and local taxpayers."
The governor's proposal would allow arbitrators to use a local government's ability to pay as "a primary factor in imposing settlements" with union employees, the mayor said.
Graham joins with the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials, which says the mandate "arbitrarily inflated the cost of police and fire contracts in every region of this state."
Graham also calls the governor's proposal to set up advisory boards that would help local governments restructure their finances "a start in the right direction."
"Governor Cuomo is trying to change the conversation over local taxes away from state bailouts to finding ways to reform the system to allow local governments in turn to contain costs," Graham said.
See the mayor's release and a release from the Conference of Mayors.