New Rochelle Lashes Out at Police Union, Strome Unilaterally Terminates Agreement in Wake of Adverse Labor Board Ruling

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New Rochelle Lashes Out at Police Union, Strome Unilaterally Terminates Agreement in Wake of Adverse Labor Board Ruling

November 21, 2009 - 15:16

City Manager Chuck Strome has given notice to New Rochelle Police Association that the City is cancelling an agreement between the City and the Union regarding overtime for New Rochelle police officers. The decision comes in response to a recent ruling by the New York State Public Employment Relations Board which requires the City to pay back years of overtime pay which could total over $1.5 million.

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The move is widely seen among the rank and file of the New Rochelle Police Department as retaliation in the wake of the PERB ruling and adds another sour note to the City's relationship with its police union which has been under strain due to the current job freeze and the 2010 proposed budget which calls for a smaller police force.

The retaliation has become personal with New Rochelle Police Association President Eddie Hayes having been passed over four time's for promotion to Sergeant despite scoring high enough on the Sergeant's test to qualify for promotion each time.

Up until 2001, only Police Association members worked overtime with assignments doled out through a monthly lottery drawing. A dispute in 2002 led Police Commissioner Carroll to ban the performance of all off-duty jobs. The Police Association filed charges and a month later Carroll restored all off-duty work except for work near bars. In 2004 the City and the Police Association entered into an agreement which settled the 2002 off-duty work charge under which the work was established directly the Police Commissioner and under which the City billed the vendors (at a new higher rate) and the officers were paid directly by the City and a rate of "time and a half". The new arrangement went into effect in 2005. That agreement will now come to and end in March 2010.

In her PREB ruling, Administrative Law Judge Angela M. Blassman ruled that the City of New Rochelle Police Department had violated the Public Employees Fair Employment Act when it assigned nonunion superior officers to work special-duty details previously performed exclusively by Association unit employees. The Judge ordered the City of New Rochelle to immediately "cease and desist" assigning off-duty detail work to senior officers, restore all work to members of the Police Association, make whole employees in the Police Association for lost wages and benefits at the maximum legal rate and conspicuously post a notice of the decision.

There are 2 Comments

City of New Rochelle makes EVERYTHING personal, happens in all Dept's. This is what happens when you have small town politics. Worst of it may be with the Fire Dept.
Retaliation?? I'll have much more to say shortly regarding the FD. Gonna blow your mind.

This is obviously retaliation. Decades of off duty work cancelled right after PERB's decision is handed down.
After reading the judges decision and following this story through officers I know, this is what I have come to understand.
I have simplified the breakdown of events:

*The PBA enters into a contract with the city regarding "Special Duty Details".
*The city apparently violates the agreed upon contract as if doesn't even exist. In other words, the "I can do what I want" attitude.
*The city is taken to task by the PBA (OMG!) in the form of a grievance. (I'm told, only after several attempts by the PBA to resolve the issue with both the city and SOA...and, you guessed it, the city and SOA refused all attempts to resolve this prior the the action)
*The city loses, and is found liable. Is ordered to stop allowing SOA members to work the jobs, restore all the jobs to the PO's and Detectives. The city is also ordered to pay damages plus intrest (estimated at 1.5 million dollars+)
*Of course, the city is appealing, which is expected.
*A few short weeks later, the city manager cancels all "Special Duty Details". ("I'll teach you!")
*And the footnote regarding the PBA President. Officer Hayes, an attorney, is blackballed and passed over 4 times for the position of Sgt, even though he has been number one on the list. That is an interesting fact(if true).

Retaliation? Of course it is. How more obvious can it be? Is there another lawsuit coming from the PBA for retailiation? A lawsuit by Officer Hayes for being passed over? Damages we, the tax payer, might have to pay, not to mention the cost to defend it al because the city administration can't live up to a contract they agreed upon? 8.9% increase, not to mention the school boards annual robbery?

Keep in mind, I'm told the NRPD administration loved the idea of "off duty" police officers available on anothers dime (the vendors). The PD could always draw from the pool of officers when needed..and have on many occasion. An example was the New Roc City "disturbance" on Easter a few years ago or simply when staffing was short.

With the PD down about 10 officers and layoffs looming, some serious "on duty" overtime could result. No longer will they be able to pull officers from jobs such as traffic, New Roc City, the temples, McDonald's, the beach clubs, IONA college patrols, Monroe College patrols and Holiday walking posts on Main St and the Anderson Street walking posts paid by BID. It just keeps getting better and better

Nice job Chuckie.