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Control board applauds high court ruling on wage freeze

R. Nils Olsen, Jr., UB law professor, serves as chair of the BFSA
UB Law School Web photo
R. Nils Olsen, Jr., UB law professor, serves as chair of the BFSA

By Eileen Buckley


Buffalo, NY – Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority chairman Nils Olsen is calling the Court of Appeals decision a victory for anyone who is in the city or cares about Buffalo.

"It's certainly a victory for anyone that has children in public schools and cares about the about the quality education in the city of Buffalo," said Olsen.

If the city lost the wage freeze suit, how much would it have owned employees?

"The city would have owed well over a $100 million. It would have been the ultimate payout from this. That's a great deal money, obviously for putting in both the city council and most particularly in the for the Board of Education," said Olsen.

The control board leader said the unanimous high court decision reverses prior orders of the trial court and Appellate Division, which had teacher's, police and firefighters, up to a four step the level of pay during the three-year wage freeze.

"Looking at the liability that the school district and city has for post retirement and non-pension benefits, especially healthcare for our retires, when you look that the increasing cost of pensions are when you look at some state aid, when you look at the fact that both the city and the school district are currently out of contract with our largest unions, the liabilities that both face, far exceed the t money that has been set aside quite responsibly by both the mayor and superintendent of the schools. So while the money is there's multiple calls on it," said Olsen.

Olsen said he now hopes the court ruling will end the wage freeze fight and lead to renewed contract negotiations so they can reach a realistic conclusion.