WARREN MUNICIPAL COURT Standoff continues over part-time security
The police chief says Warren benefits by having officers on patrol instead of in court.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
and AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- It remains to be seen if city police officers will continue to provide court security.
Municipal Judge Thomas Gysegem is considering issuing a journal entry next month establishing part-time court security positions.
The Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association says the security jobs should stay with the police department.
The union filed an unfair-labor practice grievance in April, saying the city would violate the contract if non-city police officers were hired to provide court security.
The city has settled that case by agreeing that it will not use any person other than a Warren patrol officer.
Michael Stabile, president of the OPBA, says the jobs have been handled by two full-time officers.
To introduce legislation: Councilman John Homlitas, D-3rd, however, plans to introduce legislation outlining funding for five part-time positions.
The security detail mans the metal detector in the municipal justice building on South Street S.E., and provides security in the courts upstairs.
Using part-timers would free up full-time patrol officers for road duty.
"I think the city would benefit if we have the officers on the road and not in the courtroom," Police Chief John Mandopoulos said.
Negotiations: City officials say the union is trying to negotiate the issue during contract negotiations. Patrol officers have been working without a contract since Dec. 31.
The union may be willing to give up the court security jobs if the city will allow police officers to live outside city limits, court officials said.
Mayor Hank Angelo could not be reached.
Stabile said OPBA members have been providing court security, even when layoffs in January 2000 left the department short-staffed for more than a year.
Revenue from a 0.5-percent income tax increase passed in May is to be used to bring police and fire operations back to normal levels.
If the five part-time posts were created, the workers would be paid between $10 and $12 per hour.
They would not receive benefits, saving the city in excess of $50,000 or $60,000 a year, the judge has said.