Girard police union files suit over shift-bidding process used in March

Staff report


The union representing patrol officers in the Girard Police Department has filed a complaint in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court in an attempt to force Police Chief Jeffrey Palmer to conduct the department’s shift-bidding process a second time.

Shift bidding is conducted every six months to determine the permanent schedule of hours worked and days off for police officers, the complaint says.

The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of North Royalton filed the action against the City of Girard, complaining that bidding was not done correctly in March.

The chief “did not allow all officers to bid by seniority,” the complaint says, adding officers Scott Siegel and John Freeman filed a grievance protesting the matter.

Palmer denied the grievance, and the city’s safety director, Jerry Lambert, failed to have a meeting on the grievance, as required under the contract, and did not act on the grievance.

According to the collective-bargaining agreement in place, the union won the grievance by default, but the city refuses to re-bid the shifts based on seniority, the lawsuit said.

“The city’s actions ... constitute breaches of contract” and “a repudiation” of the collective-bargaining agreement, the suit said.

Lambert, however, said Wednesday he and the city’s legal counsel did talk with union officials and thought a workable arrangement had been worked out, so the filing of the lawsuit was a surprise. “It’s a question of whether all of the steps were followed properly,” he said.

On Monday, Atty. Eugene P. Nevada of Dublin, Ohio, representing the city, filed a response to the suit, saying the lawsuit seeks no specific dollar amount of damages, which means the common pleas court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

The city says the proper venue would be the State Employment Relations Board. The suit is assigned to Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

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