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Control Board Lifts City Wage Freeze

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority has voted to lift the wage freeze for city workers and the school district.

The control board voted Tuesday afternoon declaring that the City will be able to afford pay increases.

But removal of the wage freeze would only provide one-step pay increases when the new fiscal year begins July first. The control board's plan does not make up for the past three years.

Mayor Byron Brown says ending the wage freeze is a sign that the City's fiscal crisis is over. But not everyone is celebrating today's decision.

Buffalo Teachers Federation president Phil Rumore is outraged. He says the one-step pay increases will hurt new teachers and retirees.

"The bottom line is this, the employees of the City of Buffalo are continuing to bleed and pay for mistakes they have not made. This will not stand. It is not fair that someone, for the rest of their careers, would be two steps behind when someone who comes from outside the District," said Rumore.

The Control Board also approval the City and school district budgets. But paying for wage hikes will force the school district to pay a price. As part of its four-year financial plan to pay for wage increases, the District says it would need to close five city schools and cut 90-positions by the 2010-2011 school year.

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