LAKE PLACID —
In the press release, Donohue also said the “foot-dragging should end now.
“What ORDA did was wrong. We know it. PERB knows it. And they know it,” he said. “It’s time for them to do what’s right and implement this contract now.”
The Olympic Authority operates and manages numerous Olympic winter sports venues, including the bobsled run at Mount Van Hoevenberg, the Lake Placid McKenzie-Intervale ski jumps, the Conference Center at Lake Placid and three ski resorts: Whiteface Mountain, Gore and Belleayre.
ORDA is among the region’s biggest employers, with some 800 employees, including a large staff of seasonal workers. Many of the full-time jobs offer good pay, Madarasz said, though wages in the Olympic region are still lower than what state employees make in other parts of New York.
He said the contract in dispute represents ORDA’s full- and part-time employees — including long-term seasonal workers — and seeks to provide some modicum of health-care benefits for part-time workers.
ORDA’s seasonal revenue is partially dependent on winter weather to drive ski-lift ticket sales.
And the winter season of 2011-12 was dismal, with one of the lowest snowfall totals recorded in the Northeast, resulting in a drop in ski traffic. State funding for ORDA has been cut by half in the past five years from just over $8 million to near $4 million. In March of this year, the authority’s ongoing fiscal challenge drew review from State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
A comptroller’s report outlined losses at ORDA and “a reliance on a line of credit from a private bank, among other sources, to meet its spending needs.” ORDA reported an operating loss of $16.9 million in 2012, according to the report. ORDA’s fiscal year ends in March to coincide somewhat with the ski season.