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Arbitrator to rule in Canton police contract

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CANTON — An arbitrator is expected to release his findings soon in a contract impasse between the village and its police union that’s been dragging on for nearly three years.

“Arbitration is the last step of impasse,” Mayor Mary Ann Ashley said Monday. “It’s my belief that both sides want to see it resolved.”

The two sides presented their arguments Dec. 2 before an arbitration panel in Albany.

Dennis J. Campagna, the arbitrator assigned to the case, is supposed to release his findings in mid-January. His decision is binding.

“The village board will be advised of his findings and we’ll go from there,” Ms. Ashley said.

The Canton Police Association has been working under the terms of a three-year contract that expired May 31, 2011. Disagreements over pay raises and employee health insurance have been the stumbling blocks.

Members of the police union, including 2 dispatchers, three sergeants and five police officers, are the only village employees who are not required to contribute to their own health insurance premiums. Police Chief Lori A. McDougal is required to contribute 15 percent.

A settlement offer presented by the village in July 2012 was rejected by the police union’s negotiation team, led by Anthony J. Solfaro, president of the New York State Union of Police Associations Inc.

William Lochner, a mediator, then was assigned to hash out the differences, but the two sides failed to reach a settlement.

At the December hearing, the village was represented by Michael A. Richardson, a labor relations consultant, and Jeffrey D. Honeywell, an Albany attorney.

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