Commissioner Agendas & Minutes
COMMISSIONERS SPECIAL MEETING
May 16, 2014
Commission Chairman, Steven E. Joy called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, May 16, 2014 in the conference room of the county courthouse located in Ellsworth, Maine with Commissioners Brown and Blasi in attendance.
MOTION: to move item 2a to the top of the agenda. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Discussion: Probate Judge per diem rate:
Commissioner Joy stated that the present judge is paid approximately $576 per week and has 34 years of experience, he questioned why we would pay more for a visiting judge. Rounding the current weekly wage to $600 and adding in travel would increase it to approximately $700 per week. Commissioner Brown questioned if we have a choice of what we would pay a visiting judge. York and Kennebunk Counties pay $700 a week plus benefits (travel and lunch). Penobscot pays $600 plus benefits. It is the Register’s responsibility to contact and schedule visiting judges. The Waldo County Judge will not come unless she is paid $700 plus benefits. Two retired judges have been contacted but they do not want to preside all summer. Commissioner Joy stated that he was looking for someone to fill in for the rest of the year, if they can’t he would like to go to the Republican Party to see if they can fill the seat from June 17th until the end of the year. Register Cousins stated that she may need to change her Tuesday Court Day to work with a visiting judges schedule. Commissioner Brown stated that the Governor would have to appoint someone to the position and he was not sure this would be done so close to an election and that Judge Patterson has not resigned his position. Commissioner Brown stated that if a county commissioner moves out of district, he may have to give up his seat, he was not sure if that applied to the position of probate judge. Commissioner Blasi stated that the commissioners should go through the motions of installing somebody and then if the governor appoints somebody then they supersede that.. Commissioner Brown stated that we cannot do anything without Judge Patterson’s approval. Commissioner Joy would prefer to allow the Register to contact someone to fill in, in the judges absence.
Commissioner Joy suggested paying someone $600 per diem, per week, for the job plus travel. It was clarified that per diem was “for the week” adding that it appeared to be a reasonable price for one day’s work plus emergency signature(s) and paperwork.
MOTION: to begin at $600 a week, plus travel and to try to find a probate judge to handle the position (one) if we can, through the end of the year. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Joy suggested trying to have a committed judge by the end of the month. Two judges could possibly work if they are committed to a schedule. Judge Holmes does not want to work 4 months, but he will work for 3 months. Immediate filling of the position is top priority.
Commissioner Blasi stated that he favored the Cumberland County policy. Commissioner Joy requested to look at the MCCA document before moving forward with discussion. In observing the MCCA document, Commissioner Joy stated that Hancock County was at the top with regard to sick time and close to the top regarding vacation time, except for during the first few years. Commissioner Blasi suggested accruing benefit time and then at one point merging the two, similar to the Cumberland model. When asked, Clerk DePrenger stated that Hancock County has a good policy, the commissioners need to gather the exempt employees together and discuss their expectations. That would give clear direction to all appointed/expect employees on commissioner interpretation of the policy. Commissioner Joy stated that a new appointed exempt employee receives 45 days of benefit time when they begin, he felt that this was too much. He also stated current employees would be grandfathered. The current inherited policy is too generous and fairly liberal, fairly giving, and appears to be too much. If employees chose to take all those days we would lose a valuable employee for at least one day a year, according to Commissioner Joy. Commissioner Brown stated that not all employees would be grandfathered under the Cumberland policy, some could start at the beginning of the year. Commissioner Joy stated that even Cumberland County employees, at up to 20 years of service, receive 35 days. Hancock County is very liberal, the 90 days of sick time is for catastrophic instances; his point was to bring the sick time to the vacation time. When an appointed/exempt employee starts they are given 15 vacation days, 30 sick days and 12 holidays, it’s too much, it seems liberal. 12 and 12 is within reason to start. Hancock County exceeds Cumberland by 10 days to begin and 20 days at the end. Commissioner Brown stated that previously, there was an employee who was here a couple of weeks and wanted a vacation right off the bat!
Commissioners Joy and Brown agreed verbally with Commissioner Blasi nodding his head, that after 6 months of employment through 2 years, appointed/exempt employee(s) would be given 12 days of vacation.
Commissioner Blasi requested commissioner consideration to vote up or down on the Cumberland model of combining vacation and sick time. Commissioner Joy did not like that the Cumberland model gave time on day one. Commissioner Blasi said that we would have our own version of the Cumberland model, we could make it our own, MCMH went to a similar model a few years ago, and employees would not lose what they have already accrued. Commissioner Joy asked attendees if they had any comment. Airport Manager Madeira stated that the commissioners were talking about the management group, in looking at his salary and benefits, the benefits are good at Hancock County, the salary is not comparable throughout the state. Giving the employees more sick and vacation and dealing with employees on an individual basis is easily tracked and can be dealt with, he suggested dealing with problems individually and to not change a policy that affects the rest. Commissioner Brown stated that there are a number of holes in the policy noting that the airport manager does not have an assistant and therefore does not have the time to utilize the benefit time. Others look at the policy a little differently. This is one of the reasons that 4-5 years ago that the time clock was instituted, so that they could track time and it helps when policy and pay is discussed. Without it, it is very difficult. RCC Director Wellman was in agreement with Manager Madeira stating that she does not punch in or out when she receives or makes phone calls, we are on the clock 24/7 and on call, managers have to make things happen in their offices when they’re not there. Commissioner Brown stated that he knows how much time is put in and takes into account phone calls and work done at home that is not noted on Time Trak. He uses Time Trak as a tool to evaluate the job.
Commissioner Joy stated that we may not be at the top of the pay scale but we are at the top of the benefit scale, "maybe it’s a wash and we move on." Manager Madeira stated that you have to attract the best people you can to top management, the benefits at Hancock County are excellent. Commissioner Brown would prefer to have the wage scale and benefits at the average with other counties. Regarding the airport manager position, there are not many Class 1 airports to compare. Commissioner Joy stated that this is a good exercise and maybe we should decide that the benefits help employees manage their lives, to help them be good, they need some time off. It’s a benefit for all of us if a employee stays home when they are sick. Commissioner Joy stated that when he started, he also started with an appointed/exempt employee and it struck him that this employee got so much time off. Manager Madeira stated that he would understand if time was not given until after the first 6 months of employment.
Commissioner Joy asked if attendees understood the differentiation of a “day” in the Cumberland model. Director Wellman discussed her first months at Hancock County and the one day of time she used. She also discussed the maximum hours received and the number of hours given back to the City of Bangor when she worked there. She understood the consolidated Cumberland model and, in her opinion, its 30 days would be completely used but in the current policy employees tend to save sick time. Commissioner Joy stated that the Cumberland model offers 20 less days. Commissioner Brown stated that exempt employees were not hired for a 40 hour week, they are hired until the job is done. If a vacation/sick combined policy was instituted, could employees be bought out when they leave? There is nothing in the current policy that allows a buy-out of vacation/sick time upon separation of employment. Being paid for the benefit day and being paid for time not taken was discussed. The current policy does not pay out unused benefit time. Commissioner Joy stated that this is an ongoing discussion which will continue.
Commissioner Joy stated that one of his pet peeves was receiving vacation and sick benefits immediately upon hire. He discussed accruing sick time. Commissioner Brown was also concerned with receiving vacation time upon hire. Vacation should be accrued after a certain amount of time, you can’t find a job outside that offers this much benefit time. He questioned if we were too liberal. Commissioner Blasi stated that combining the two takes away the ambiguity, you would not have to worry about the liberalness of one side or the other. Commissioner Joy was not certain of this, sick time benefits tend to remain unused, if combined, time is generally taken. He used a scenario of taking 25 days a year and then getting really sick and needing more time. Commissioner Blasi stated that if 30 days were not used, they would go into the next year and eventually the employee would be bought out.
Sick time is the most liberal of the information received, Hancock County is 8th in population and size and 6th in UT land mass. Commissioners Joy preferred to see Hancock County in the middle for sick time benefit accrual, the average is 12 hours per month. Manager Madeira suggested a combination of not being eligible for the benefit for a certain number of months, accruing time could give the employee time to buyout. He suggested giving the employee a waiting period before beginning to accrue time and then after a certain about of time, the use it or lose it scenario would kick in. Commissioner Joy clarified that sick time would be earned and accumulated by hours, accruing is different. The proposed policy reverts to 30 days of sick time per year after 2 years with a cap of 90 days, employees would accrue sick time on an hourly basis, up to 12 days per year, through the first 2 years of hire. We are still high compared to the Cumberland model. Commissioner Brown stated that he agreed with the statement “upon hire through 2 years, 1.846 hours weekly, (12 days per year) he could TA this statement. Current employees would be grandfathered to the 2007 plan. Commissioner Blasi agreed with the accrued sick time language as well.
Commissioner Joy stated that 30 days was still a liberal amount of time. Every county remains at 12 days per year except Hancock County. He suggested changed the policy to reflect after 2 years, 20 days annually. Commissioner Brown stated that they could still accrue up to 90 days. Commissioner Joy stated that after 2 years, 20 days per year should be given on January 1st. The weekly accrual would increase. Commissioner Brown questioned what would change first, this policy or the wage scale. This change would occur either today or within the next month. Commissioner Brown stated that they would not use this as an excuse not to pay the employees more. Commissioner Joy agreed, this is just to bring the benefit into line. Commissioner Brown would agree to the suggestion if it meant that it would not be used against the employees as he believed some employees are under paid. Commissioner Joy agreed and requested a copy of the MCCA accumulated wage scale. Commissioner Blasi stated that he did not have a comment for the reason that he would like to see it combined. Commissioner Blasi stated that we have not discussed the Appendix, this will be discussed at a later date. Attachment #8 will be used as a base from now on, which includes the Appendix (8-10 hour work day language). The discussion ended at 9:57 a.m.
10:04 a.m. Grievance Hearing(s) - Jail Overtime
The following participants were sworn in: Cpl. Christopher Stanley, Sgt. Troy Richardson, Business Agent (BA) Joe Piccone and Sheriff William F. Clark. Captain Timothy Richardson was sworn in later during the hearing(s). Audio of the hearing is available, upon request, from the commissioners' office.
Grievant: Christopher Stanley. Article(s) and Section(s) of Agreement allegedly violated: Article 20, Section B, Article 36, Section 3 and "any other article that applies. Grievance: Officer Brown took off 4/3/14 as a vacation day, Officer Brown submitted the time off request within the contract language i.e. more than 10 days out. Cpl. Stanley signed up for 1/2 of the open shift, 1700 to 2300 hours. The shift was filled with part-time help. Cpl. Stanley was denied the 1/2 shift. The redress sought was to be made whole, paid for 6 hours of work he lost. BA Piccone and Sheriff Clark presented opening remarks. Cpl. Stanly was called to testify followed by Sgt. Richardson.
Closing statements: BA Piccone – Cpl. Stanley was wrongfully denied work on this day, the contract is clear and the practice is such as well, therefore he should be made whole for lost time wages. Sheriff Clark - found it ironic that Stanley complained that he is forced to work 18 hours but also complains that he can’t work 18 hours at his discretion. The 18 hours isn’t the problem, it’s the 12 hour shift afterward. There is not time for rest on a jail shift. It’s good management to utilize the ineffective scheduling section in times like this. Commissioner Joy stated that he would need to read the articles cited in order to make a decision. The hearing was closed at 10:21 a.m.
Grievant: Union & all affected employees 1). Article(s) and Section(s) of Agreement allegedly violated: Article 20, Section 5, and any other article that applies. Grievance: On April 16th Sgt Sullivan took the day. The day off was posted on the schedule. No one in the job classification was asked if they wanted the shift. The classification under the CBA is Article 20, Section 5, A-3 Corrections Sergeant. The redress sought was to be made whole. BA Piccone and Sheriff Clark presented opening remarks. Sgt. Richardson was called to testify and read the county's position of the 2012 Arbitration document, after which Sheriff Clark was called to testify.
Closing statements: BA Piccone - our position is clear.
Commissioner Joy asked how is this case was different from the prior grievance? When Sgt. Richardson previously grieved he was able to sign up for every shift that was posted through three different jail administrators, when the hearing came out, he stated that at that point, he did not really understand the classifications. The arbitrators said he could be awarded the shifts unless someone in that classification signed up for the shift. Commissioner Blasi checked his understanding of an open shift. Sign-up means to write your name on a posted paper. Bidding means the first person in the classification gets the shift or you can apply. Anybody qualified can apply for a vacancy. A sergeant who is qualified as a corrections officer can "apply" but cannot bid because they are outside classification. By definition you are either bidding or applying.
Back to closing statements: BA Piccone - the arbitrators decision clearly states that it is the contract, not all these other deals and policies, our position is that the sheriff is wrong by law in stating that the contract conforms to any policy.
Commissioner Joy clarified "we are using Policy & Procedure, Contract and By Law, is there some controlling statute on this?" BA Piccone stated that Maintenance of Standards under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) addresses these issues, unless there is a law, there is another section in here on policies, your policies, unless mandated or something new comes into law and outdates the Maintenance of Standards, your policies and procedures must conform to the CBA; policy and procedures cannot be contrary to the CBA. The contract trumps all. Commissioner Blasi ventured to say that the policies created were based on statute. BA Piccone's response was no, not at all, this is not a policy that is based on statute. Policies might be in conflict with the CBA, this policy is not based on statute. According to BA Piccone, if the contract does not speak to it, then a policy could be created but it should be bargained with the union. Regarding the complaint that is being dealt with today, the contract spells out exactly how it should be handled and the arbitrators decision spells out that those classifications in bidding and posting and filling the vacancies, exactly how that should be done. Nowhere in the CBA does it say if a full-time employee bids on something, do you give it to a part-time employee. Sheriff Clark - Gentlemen you have before you two documents, one is from your Personnel Policy and one is from the Jail Policy and Procedures. One clearly states that a corporal is a corrections officer when not working as a supervisor. The other states that the corporal shall act in the absence of the sergeant. Both of these documents were in existence before the union contract and I suspect that the union would have been consulted when the union contracts were negotiated. Nothing in the union contract is in conflict with these two policies. The point gets right back to the sergeant that took the day off. First of all we didn't even have to post that, we are not required to post every vacancy, if I have five corrections officers working and if I think I can get by with four for that day, I don't have to post that corrections officer just because they took the day off. It is at our discretion whether or not we post. More than that the policy says that if the sergeant is absent, the corporal acts as the sergeant. We followed that policy, that is the policy that has always been in existence, why would we have corporals and pay them more money to work as a corrections officer if that wasn't what we were going to do. We pay our corporals another pay grade higher than corrections officers even thought they are only doing corrections officer work so that we can have them available when the sergeant is absent and we did that. When the corporal moves up, it leaves a vacancy in the line staff, that is the vacancy that was posted and now we are exactly back to what the arbitrators decided; that Troy could apply if he wanted to but he couldn't bid because it is outside classification.
It is perfectly clear that the arbitrator said that Troy could bid on the shift if no corrections officer do, sheriff you must give it to him if no corrections officers do. That's all that the arbitrators said and it's the bottom of the decision. Commissioner Blasi checked his understanding with regard to vacancies that need to be posted. Sheriff Clark stated "we don't have to post every vacancy, if we can get by without having somebody in that position. " If a sergeant and a corporal were off, they would have to post the openings, as long as the corporal is there when the sergeant leaves, the corporal can be used as a sergeant but then a vacancy is left in the line staff. If we think we can get by with the vacancy in the line staff, we do not have to post the position. Commissioner Joy asked if this was a management decision. Sheriff Clark's response was, yes. Commissioner Brown read a portion of the job description for Corrections Sergeant/Corrections Corporal which said, the corporal will act as a shift supervisor in the absence of the corrections sergeant. This language compels the corporal to work the shift, if it is open , according to Sheriff Clark. It says that he will act as the sergeant in the absence of the sergeant and be the shift supervisor. Policy A-201 Post Orders are part of the Rules and Regulations of the jail as set by mandatory state standards. Commissioner Brown read the following: "The officer in charge of the shift in the absence of the sergeant, when not acting as the shift supervisor, when in the absence of the shift supervisor, the corporal will assume the duties of a corrections officer. Sheriff Clark stated that this is not well written, what it means is that they will act as the shift supervisor in the absence of the sergeant but when the sergeant is there, they shall be considered a corrections officer. The corporal is the officer in charge of the shift in the absence of the sergeant. Captain Richardson when questioned by Commissioner Brown stated that the current staffing level is a sergeant, a corporal and two corrections officers. The definition of a corporal, under Policy A-201, was clarified. He is the officer in charge in the absence of the sergeant. The grievance hearing closed at 10:55 a.m.
Grievant: Troy Richardson 2). Article(s) and Section(s) of Agreement allegedly violated: Article 20, Section 5, Article 5 and any other article that applies. Grievance: An open shift was posted two weeks prior to April 28, 2014. The open shift was for a corrections officer. I signed up for the shift within that two weeks. Cpl. Hobbs also signed up for that open shift. The open shift was assigned to Cpl. Hobbs on April 28, 2014. The open shift date was May 5, 2014. The redress sought was to be made whole because of the loss of the shift. BA Piccone and Sheriff Clark presented opening remarks. Captain Richardson was called to testify. Commissioner Brown read Article 5 Section 3 which states "the seniority list will be brought up to date on January 1st of every year and immediately posted thereafter on bulletin boards for a period of not less than 30 days." He asked if this had been done. Captain Richardson stated that he has an active, updated list but was not 100% sure that the seniority list was posted. Commissioner Brown stated that the Seniority List would tell everyone their seniority so that they can apply for shifts because of seniority and questioned if that was what this was for.
Closing statements: BA Piccone - the contract is clear, the testimony was clear, there are different classifications, the contract clearly states that when two people that are not in classification bid on something, it does go to the senior person. Sheriff Clark – the problem is interpretation of the contract, you have to use supporting documents to understand the contract, not only what it says but the intent of the contract. It's clear, corporal is a corrections officer when not working as a shift supervisor so when the corporals position comes open it's an open corrections officers, it's not the title of the individual, it's the type of work that you need to fill, that's the important part here, you have to remember that. Filling the duties of a corrections officer with a corporal creates a vacancy, not a sergeants position. When it comes to Troy Richardson applying for a corrections officer position, we must give it to him if no other corrections officer applies. In this case a corrections officer did apply and the corrections officer got it. It's appropriate and that's the way it should be. The grievance was closed at 11:07 a.m.
Grievant: Troy Richardson 3). Article(s) and Section(s) of Agreement allegedly violated: Article 33, Section B and any other articles that are applicable. Grievance: On March 20, 2014 C/O Frye called out sick for his night shift, 1700-0500. I planned on working the shift (1/2 half 1700-2300.) I was told later in the day that shift from 1700-0500 had been filled by another full-time employee that was on his day off. The redress sought was to be made whole. BA Piccone and Sheriff Clark presented opening remarks. Commissioner Brown read a portion of Article 33, Section B, "when an officer calls in sick for a shift employees working the previous shift will be afforded the opportunity to work 1/2 of the vacated shift. Employees working the shift following the vacated shift will be offered work opportunity to fill the remaining 1/2 of the vacancy." He questioned, why in this case does that not apply. Sheriff Clark stated "because this permits that to happen. Think about negotiations and what not, if we want to give the ability in the contract for people to work 1/2 of the companion shift and that language is put in there to permit the employee to get that, there's nothing in there that mandates, and why would you ever sign a contract that mandated us to give this to them over bringing in a fresh employee." Commissioner Brown stated "but it's in the contract though." Sheriff Clark stated that it was in the contract so that it permits this to happen, I can't exclude that but it doesn't mandate us if that happens. Sgt. Richardson was called to testify. Sheriff Clark stated that he had no questions other than “what the hell does that have to do with anything?”
Commissioner Blasi stated that he was noticing the language of all parties, the “shift will be afforded the opportunity.” BA Piccone stated, when an officer calls in sick for a shift, employees working the previous shift will be afforded the opportunity." To him, the language was not gray.
Closing statements: BA Piccone – On this particular grievance, we believe the language can't be any clearer, Troy Richardson was, in fact working, he was available, it says that if you put his name in there, he will be afforded the opportunity for half the shift. With that said, we stand on the contract language and believe he was owed that shift and he asked the commissioners to recognize that. In wrapping up the day with the grievances, BA Piccone stated that the scheduling has been done very arbitrary. Troy as a shop steward has effectively had, sometimes they meet, when he say's geez this should not be done this way, this is what the contract says, it seems to be a matter of convenience. We are not looking at re-inventing or going back and re-interpreting, we're looking at moving forward because we believe that a lot of what the Sheriff has said is he gets to fill it when he wants to fill it and how he wants to fill it. That's what we are taking away from that, that's what seems to be going on and we are not going to tolerate that. We believe it has been negotiated and that the county has agreed on that and if the county has a hardship with the scheduling we're welcome to have that conversation to try to address those and maybe some of the solutions are outside of the contract, maybe there's a need at some point and time, but that has never been the case. The sheriff's position as a representative of the county is the language doesn't mean anything, it's what I decide it means on any given day and we believe that the seniority rights are being violated when that happens and that you're actually going way beyond what's agreed to here. That's why we're here today and that's why you have the number of grievances that you have now to let you know that we are serious about addressing that issue and we want to address it correctly.
Commissioner Joy stated that the last statement that was brought in, in this case, was that sergeants, corporals and corrections officers are all corrections officers. The arbitration dealt with working out of classification. He questioned the differences in classification levels. "Are they all corrections officers and there is no classification or are they corrections officers and they have classification levels?" BA Piccone stated that it was confusing to him, the union believed that the policy confuses those two things but the contract clearly identifies three different pay rates. The process of obtaining overtime and working extra hours is based on seniority plus classification. The contract clearly spells out those positions and how that should be posted or filled. Closing statements continued: Sheriff Clark - Two things, first of all its absurd considering how long the language has been in the contract that Joe and Troy Richardson today would assert to you that because the contract says “will be afforded” it means that we must do that before we do anything else. They've never raised an issue in all the years this language has been in there and I would say this, the emphasis on that phrase is not will the emphasis is on afforded. If that language intended for us to first split that shift with a previous and the following it would have said would be given. What it is saying is that it will be afforded. In other words it's saying, management you can't deny, you can't restrict how you replace this by not allowing previous and the following shifts to fill those but it doesn't mandate. It simply says that you will afford, so you can't preclude and that's the purpose of that. The fact that this has never been raised in all the years that this language has been in there is the red herring that's here today. This is proper in that the position that came open was filled by an corrections officer and not by the sergeant on the previous shift and so there was nothing improper here. Sheriff Clark stated that the real reason for the number of grievances discussed today was that the collective bargaining unit decided that they wanted a different shop steward. Sgt. Richardson objected to this statement stating that this has nothing to do with what they were talking about, absolutely nothing. Sheriff Clark stated that these are frivolous complaints, they were decided by arbitration.
Commissioner Joy stated that they have heard language today that said corrections officers, sergeants and corporals are all corrections officers. They're also classifications, what the arbitration spoke to was working outside of classification. He stated his confusion as to, are they all corrections officers but they just have a classification ranking one above the other? Sheriff Clark responded by saying "care and custody of inmates makes him a corrections officer but there are ranks within their list of corrections officers for management reasons. Obviously the sergeant is a ranking member of the corrections officers because we have to have a shift supervisor. Corporal is the unique position within this because the corporals don't perform any supervisory functions when the sergeant is there, the corporal does corrections officers work, basic line work, even though they have the title of corporal. They have the title of corporal because only supervisors can provide some function in the shift, dispensing medication, so on and so forth. We need a contingency of trained shift supervisors available in the absence of the sergeant and so that's the uniqueness of the corporal that they become the sergeant and the shift supervisor when the sergeant is absent, the rest of the time they are a corrections officer performing corrections officer duties and the reason they are getting the extra pay is not for any work they provide as a corrections officer when the sergeant is there, it's because they're willing to step up and be a sergeant without additional pay when that happens." The hearing was closed at 11:26 a.m.
Deliberation: Stanley – Commissioner Joy read Article 36, Section 3 Scheduling, regarding posting of vacancies. In overview, he stated that a vacation day was taken, there was a need to fill the shift, it was a corrections officers position, the corporal wanted to fill it and was not allowed to. He stated that he believed that the corporal's classification was corrections officer because they did not need someone to step-up to the sergeants supervisory position. If Richardson wanted to fill that and he were the sergeant, he could not, but this was the corporal who wanted to. Article 20 Section 1B regarding ineffective scheduling and splitting the shift was read aloud by Commissioner Joy, he stated that the contract speaks to, if Stanley wanted to, he could have worked the whole 24 hours if no one else wanted it. Commissioner Blasi stated "that's faulty language as far as I'm concerned." Commissioner's Brown and Joy stated that it was agreed to and in the next contract negotiation, we need to change it. Commissioner Blasi asked if they could stop it now prior to finalizing the contract. Commissioner's Brown and Joy responded, no not if it's already in here. Commissioner Blasi clarified that he would like it changed in the "coming up" contract. Commissioner Joy stated that we have reached agreement and he was not sure. Commissioner Blasi stated that we have not signed anything yet, so there may be a possibility. Commissioner Brown stated "if you want to open that contract up, you can negotiate it, I'm not going to do it again." Commissioner Blasi argued that he could see what the language leads to, why not, adding that the problem is the ability to work a 24 hour shift. Commissioner Brown thought that it was addressed somewhere else in the contract. Commissioner Blasi stated that a 24 hour possible shift is unsafe. Commissioner Brown stated that you can do the same thing by compelling someone to work. Commissioner Joy stated that we cannot have it be unsafe if they compel people all the time. Commissioner Blasi proposed that the problem be remedied prior to signing a new contract so that they can't work a 24 hour shift.
Commissioner Joy stated that they are dealing with an 18 hour shift right now which seems to be standard practice in the jail. Commissioner Blasi did not agree with an 18 hour shift. Commissioner Joy stated that they could handle 18 hours but 24 hours is different, it is standard practice and they work them 18 hours quite frequently. The idea that it is unsafe loses some of its weight if they are compelled often, like every two weeks. The next question is, he is a corrections officer and does he have a right to that and what came out of the arbitration, would we now call corporal a classification? We have heard that the corporal is the person selected out of all the corrections officers to fill the sergeants shift, that's the only thing that makes a corporal different from any other corrections officer, but they are still corrections officers. Commissioner Joy concluded that in this case, in referencing Article 20, Section 1B; Commissioner Brown spoke prior to Commissioner Joy finishing his sentence and stated that one of the reasons that the sheriff denied this was that the employee would spend too much time, 18 hours with no time off. Christopher Stanley said that he is compelled to do so quite often. He did not think that, that in itself, is reason to deny the grievance. It was clarified that the arbitration went against Sgt. Richardson.
Commissioner Joy stated that what first needs to be decided is, is the corporal out of classification or is he included in the corrections officer classification, he knew they all are, but the next thing is, how is he different? The only way he is different is that he is the one designated to step-up, that's the only difference. Commissioner Brown questioned if he is the only one designated to step up, he's not the way he reads the job description. The commissioners were given a job description and a jail policy which read "A corrections corporal will act as a shift supervisor." All the job description says is that he can act as a supervisor in the absence of the corrections sergeant. That does not mean that he's the one that's got to do it. Regarding the post-shift supervisor, the officer in charge of the shift, in the absence of the sergeant, the officer, the officer means what? Commissioner Joy stated his belief that the person in charge is the sergeant and what they are saying is when the corporal comes up they are still paying him corporal pay, they just happen to be the sergeant. Commissioner Brown read the following, when not assuming the duties of the supervisor, the corporal will assume the duties of a corrections officer. Commissioner Joy stated that he is a corrections officer, this was a corrections officer opening, so "I don't think he's out of classification myself." It is really just designating the person, instead of randomly choosing someone, it is designating a chain of command. Whoever the corporal is on whatever shift is the one who will step-up in the absence. He has no other responsibility. Commissioner Brown stated, but they denied Chris Stanley and I think that was manifestly wrong. Commissioner Brown stated that if you use Troy Richardson's' and the arbitration argument, then this one has to be right. If you deny this and deny Troy Richardson's then one of them has got to be wrong. Commissioner Blasi agreed and stated that, that was probably why he wanted to make him whole. Commissioner Joy stated that in that case, they had to go to all sergeants first to fill that shift. What they did was move a corporal up, do we as management want to retain that right, he was not sure they can shut Troy Richardson out of everything, if a sergeants position is open, I wonder why no one in the job classification was asked. Commissioner Joy stated, what came out of the arbitration is that Troy can't go down and take all the overtime, but within his classification he can. Troy trumps in classification but not necessarily outside of it. That is what the arbitration settled, but in classification Troy trumps.
What we are dealing here though, in the Stanley case is, Stanley wanted the time as a corporal and Commissioner Joy was not sure he has to be given the time. Commissioner Brown stated, according to the sheriff the corporal moves into that position. Commissioner Joy clarified, he can, he is the one designated to.
Commissioner Brown stated in looking at #2 (the Richardson grievance) Troy Richardson is grieving to go down, there is a difference. Commissioner Joy agreed.
Commissioner Joy stated that the parties probably want to hear the deliberation and questioned if deliberation should take place with the participants present. The clerk stated that she had contacted the parties when deliberations began and heard back from BA Piccone. Commissioner Brown said that he has made up his mind on most of them already.
Commissioner Blasi stated that the Stanley grievant wanted to be redressed. Commissioner Brown stated that he was teetering on Stanley and Sullivan. Hobbs and Frye he would approve. Commissioner Joy clarified that bidding and applying are two different things, 18 hour shifts are common but 24 hours is a different story. Commissioner Blasi stated that if they redressed one or more the contract should be remedied immediately. Commissioner Brown stated that he would have a real problem with a patrol officer working an 18 hour shift. Commissioner Blasi stated that because it is done for a jail officer, doesn’t mean it should be done the same way for a patrol officer. Commissioner Joy stated that if a 24 hour shift is worked and the employee has 3 days off, it is different from working 24 hours and coming back in 6 hours to a 12 hour shift. Commissioner Joy stated that he would only deal with Articles written in the grievance, not "any and all applicable articles," adding “I am not going to do their work.” Commissioner Brown stated that in the sheriff’s response “it is clearly stated in the jail policy and procedure that the corporal shall act in the place of the sergeant." We don’t have a copy of policy and procedure. Since when does policy and procedure trump union contract. Commissioner Joy stated, by allowing this, you shut Troy Richardson out of all overtime, and I’m not sure that it is fair to him. The step up should not be for filling shifts, it should only be if the sergeant is not available.
Deliberations stopped at 12:05 p.m. and will resume at the June CRM.
MOTION: to enter into executive session under MRSA Title 1 §405 6a to discuss an employee matter. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Joy called the meeting back into regular session at 12:43 p.m. with nothing to report.
MOTION: to adjourn. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)