COOPERSTOWN _ At Wednesday's meeting of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, members were apprised of a lack of progress in negotiations with the county's CSEA negotiators.

The 600 or so union members, who turned down a contract offer last October, have been working without a contract since Dec. 31, 2006. A mediator, appointed by the state Public Employment Relations Board was unable to bring the sides together.

Attorney John Corcoran, the county's labor negotiator, spoke to the county board in executive session Wednesday. After the closed-door session, Corcoran said he believes a fact-finder will soon be appointed by the state Public Employee Relations Board.

According to the state PERB's website: ``If mediation fails to resolve the impasse, then fact-finding is the next step. The fact-finder may attempt to resolve the dispute through further mediation. If not, or if unsuccessful in that effort, the fact-finder then holds a hearing, takes testimony of witnesses, accepts briefs from the parties, and then makes a written, nonbinding recommendation for settlement to both parties.

``The Fact-Finder then makes the report and recommendations public within five days of transmission of the report to the parties.''

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