The Washington Times - April 16, 2009, 08:41AM



BINGHAMTON - A Broome County employee confined by bosses to the Department of Social Services’ building during the April 3 massacre at the nearby American Civic Association wants to be paid for his lunch hour.


The employee made a formal complaint last week to Broome’s Personnel Department, confirmed Michael Klein, the director.

James Kauchis, a DSS accounting clerk, confirmed he made the complaint, but denied further comment.

“That’s a matter between me, the administration and the union,” Kauchis said.

No formal grievance has been filed through Kauchis’ union, Klein said.

Broome County Executive Barbara J. Fiala said she was both disappointed and embarrassed that such a complaint was made.

“A lot of people lost a lot more that day than just one hour,” Fiala said, adding she would fight a formal grievance, if it’s filed.

“This is the kind of thing that makes government workers look bad,” Klein said. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of county employees stepped up to the plate.”

No other Broome employee, including Broome sheriff’s deputies who responded to the American Civic Association and the 911 emergency dispatchers, complained to Klein, the director said.

Klein said he denied the employee’s complaint last week on the grounds that making DSS employees stay in their building during the shooting did not violate state labor laws or their union contract.

Bosses at DSS had pizza and beverages brought in during the four hours employees were confined to the building, from about 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., said DSS Commissioner Arthur Johnson.

“We were working with Binghamton police to keep our employees safe and out of the way of an active police investigation,” Johnson said.