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Longboat Key Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 4 years ago

Town and police union are at odds about new contract

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Negotiations are over; impasse has been declared; and the town and the Longboat Key Police Union are barely on speaking terms. In fact, they have been urged not to speak outside a negotiation table.

In an Aug. 27 email to Mayor Jim Brown, police officer and union representative Chris Skinner sent an email to Mayor Jim Brown, asking for a meeting “to share concerns and to provide some information specifically about each officer’s job knowledge, training and experience they have obtained in their law-enforcement careers.”

Although Skinner said the union’s attorney said it was “completely acceptable” for commissioners to meet with union representatives before a special magistrate reviews the issues of the contract negotiations next month, Brown politely declined the invitation in a follow-up email to Skinner. Brown also explained the town’s labor attorney advised against the meeting.

“Although I can understand your frustration, I’m sure you understand as a member of the bargaining committee that I cannot meet with you to discuss anything to do with the current negotiations,” Brown wrote. “If you have a proposal to offer, your group should call for a bargaining session to discuss it with our bargaining committee. Under the rules of bargaining this is the only way to bring your proposal forward. I hope you can understand my position.”

The union opted not to accept any of the town’s three retirement options when it held a vote of its 11 members in July.

The town must wait for a special magistrate to hear the issues and render a decision moving forward. A meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 16 to discuss the issues and set a magistrate hearing date.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

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