Standard Amusements will run Playland, county to invest $32M

Source: Mark Lungariello, Lohud.com, May 3, 2016

Westchester County lawmakers voted 13-4 to give the keys to Playland to a management company called Standard Amusements, a hedgefund-backed group headed by Harrison native Nicholas Singer. The move ends a six-year process to find a private-sector manager to take over day-to-day operations of the financially-strapped county-owned park. The county, which will maintain ownership, is also expected to chip in $32 million to restore the park’s deteriorating Art Deco infrastructure through projects including a repaving of the parking lot and restoration of some historical rides. … Under the terms of the agreement, Standard pays Westchester escalating annual payments starting at $300,000. After the company recoups its initial investment, Westchester gets 8 percent of net income generated at the park. Westchester’s cut increases to 10 percent after the first 10 years of the deal and increases to 12 percent in years 21-30. … Under the terms of the contract, Standard has the sole discretion on whom it hires. The deal also gives the company the option of contracting full-time county employees to work at Playland on annual basis. If Standard utilizes the employees, it agrees to reimburse Westchester 100 percent of salary costs and 30 percent of the benefits owed to them. If the company keeps the employees on for two years, it agrees to pay 100 percent of the benefits. The president of the Civil Service Employees Association Unit 9200, which has 25 members working at Playland, said he met with lawmakers to ask that they add another layer of protection for workers so that they could remain union members and have their time on the job counted toward their public-sector pensions. President Kwabena Manu said prior to the vote he was disappointed with the agreement.

Related:

Union Wants Assurances Rye Playland Workers Will Keep Jobs, Benefits
Source: Michael Woynton, Patch, March 21, 2016

The president of the Civil Service Employees Association Unit 9200, Kwabena Manu, wants to make sure that Standard Amusements, which is being considered to take over management of the Westchester County park, will let county employees stay unionized and will be able to keep their benefits, according to lohud.com. … The county is hoping to have an agreement in place with Standard by the end of this month. The county could spend $58 million on 11 construction projects at Playland if the deal goes through.

Union president: Playland workers worried about future
Source: Mark Lungariello, LoHud, March 19, 2016

The president of the Westchester County’s largest public-sector labor union says lawmakers shouldn’t let a management company run Playland unless the business agrees to protect union members there. Westchester legislators are considering a deal that would turn over the day-to-day operation of the county-owned amusement park to a company called Standard Amusements. … Kwabena Manu, president of the Civil Service Employees Association Unit 9200, wants assurances that any county employees Standard hires after the takeover remain union members with the same benefits and protections they receive today. … There are 25 full-time workers and additional seasonal employees that are CSEA members at the park. The county has said no one will lose their jobs as a result of the takeover, and county employees not hired by Standard will be reassigned to other parks and other county jobs. Manu said he wants to change the contract with Standard so it will ensure long-time employees hired by Standard continue to be CSEA members and have their years on the job counted toward their public-sector pensions. County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican who came into office in 2010, has said bringing in private-sector investment and management would revitalize the 88-year-old park, which has suffered from decaying infrastructure and a pattern of running in the red.

Westchester County, Standard Amusements Promise To Retain Playland Workers
Source: Alesha Hanson, Daily Voice, May 14, 2015

The Westchester County Board of Legislators and the Labor, Parks, Planning and Housing Committee at its meeting on Wednesday addressed the jobs of current Rye Playland employees and promised to help retain jobs…. At the meeting, Standard Amusements representatives indicated that they recognize the value of the county employees’ experience, institutional knowledge and commitment to Playland and would like to hire as many of those employees as practical. Civil Service Employees Association leadership made the point that the public employee pension system which many employees are enrolled in would not be transferable to a private operator. Standard indicated that they would be open to contracting with the county for the services of those employees needed so that they could stay in New York State Pension System. ….

Proposed Playland operator commits to retaining county employees
Source: Midhudsonnews.com, May 14, 2015

Westchester County administration officials and representatives of Standard Amusements, LLC, the company proposed to manage the county’s Playland Amusement Park for 15 years, Wednesday committed to retaining all county employees when they take over operations. Standard Amusement officials said they recognize the value of the county employees’ experience, institutional knowledge and commitment to Playland and would like to hire as many as practical. CSEA leadership told members of the county board of legislators’ committee discussing the issue that if the workers are shifted over to the private company, they would lose their public employee pension system coverage.