Contract Arbitration Comes Through for Detectives
Thursday, August, 9, 2012
Luzerne County, PA will get to keep its 10 detectives. More importantly for the detectives, their union's contract arbitration with the county means their employment will continue according to most of the terms they originally asked for.
Luzerne County vs. Its Detectives in Legal Arbitration
Luzerne County spends about $1 million a year on its detectives in terms of salary, benefits, and allowances (which include cell phone, clothing allowance, overtime, and pay for vacation days not taken). That comes out to about $100,000 per detective per year.
The detectives don't see all of this money. The salary and compensation for each (which includes the allowances mentioned above) is just over $88,000. The detectives are employed by the District Attorney's Office.
Contract Arbitration in Dispute
Not all of the city council is pleased with the outcome. According to County Manager Robert Lawton, the agreement closely resembles the agreement he backed in May.
But not everybody was with him on backing that agreement. In fact, the city council shot it down in a 6-5 vote. The council is still split along the same lines, with some wondering if the county pursued its interests as aggressively as it should have. One member of the council promised to vote against the arbitration
—and even wants to remove all detective funding for the next year, period!
Can Binding Arbitration be Voted Down?
In most cases of contract arbitration, the final decision would be binding. But if the contract agreement—which includes a 2% pay increase for the last four years of a five-year period—requires taxes to be raised, it can potentially be voted down.
The arbitration panel was made up of three members. One member was chosen by the county, one member was chosen by the detectives' union, and the third was neutral. The county paid $165/hour for its representative's services.