OSWEGO – Mayor Billy Barlow met recently with Oswego Firefighters Association Local 126 Union President John Geraci and members of the Oswego Fire Department to sign a memorandum of understanding.
The pact provides a mechanism to reconcile the City – Union contract language with New York State Law which allows qualified US Veterans the ability to “buy-back” their military time to use toward their New York State Retirement benefit.
Prior to this memorandum, each employee was handled on a case by case basis with no guarantee that the city would allow the member to retire with city earned benefits when retiring under this provision of the law.
The agreement states that eligible members of the city of Oswego Fire Department will be afforded the opportunity to buy back from the State of New York up to three years of active military service toward their retirement as defined in Article 20 of the Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL).
An eligible member that utilizes this section to qualify with full benefits as defined in their New York State and Local Retirement tier will be allowed to retire with all rights and privileges which would be afforded a member who has served 20 years of service with the city of Oswego.
“Today’s signing is yet another step to align our city services with the experienced workforce coming from the US military,” the mayor said. “Earlier this year, I signed an agreement as part of the US Army’s Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) program which guaranteed US Army Veteran’s an interview for potential positions in the city’s workforce. Today we are reinforcing our commitment to help encourage gainful employment of qualified US veterans.”
“I want to thank the members of the Oswego Fire Department and Local 126 for pursuing this agreement for their members who are also US veterans,” Barlow added. “I offer a special thank you to the members of the city’s workforce who are also US veterans. Thank you all for your service to the city of Oswego and to our country!”
John Geraci, president of Oswego Firefighters Association Local 126, thanked Mayor Barlow.
“It is a great benefit for those who have served our country and it is reassuring to see our city administration put such a high value on their employees who are also veterans,” he said.
Oswego Fire Chief Randy Griffin lauded the agreement.
“This recognition of our veterans completes the firefighters’ contract and is simply the right thing to do. Mayor Barlow recognizes the importance of employing military veterans and this agreement will help with recruiting and retaining qualified personnel as we continue to building the Oswego fire Department and focus on building capacity to meet the needs of Oswego residents,” Griffin said.