To an outside observer, it must have been bewildering.
Montgomery village trustees convened a special meeting for Wednesday night, called it to order, went into an executive session, returned 20 minutes later and adjourned. They took no action, and gave no statements afterward.
But Wednesday’s meeting was actually pretty significant. Trustees were there to discuss the results of arbitration between the village and the Metropolitan Alliance of Police, Chapter 333. And by taking no action, trustees have allowed the agreement to move forward.
Police officers in Montgomery have been working without a contract since May 1, 2010, and after nearly a year of negotiations, the two sides were still stymied on 16 separate issues. On April 26, the village and the union offered their arguments to Willowbrook attorney and arbitrator Michelle Camden, and while they worked one of those issues out at the table, the other 15 remained—seven of them were economic in nature, the other eight non-economic.
Camden’s decision has been rendered, and while she sided with the union on most of the non-economic issues, such as a new grievance policy for disciplinary actions and the automatic deduction of union dues from paychecks, Camden largely agreed with the village on the economic ones.
The union had proposed a three-percent salary increase in Fiscal Year 2011, and a two-percent increase in both FY 2012 and FY 2013. But Camden sided with the village’s proposal, which will see officers receive no increase in FY 2011, a one-percent increase in FY 2012 and a two-percent raise in FY 2013.
Officers will still receive their step increases, unless they are at the maximum salary level of $70,671, in which case they will get a lump sum of $1,000 as compensation.
Camden also agreed with the village that insurance contributions should not be capped, and that officers can accrue sick time (up to 640 hours, twice the current allotment), but cannot receive a payout of those hours once they leave the village. Camden also agreed that the uniform allowance would not be raised from $700 to $850. (For more on the specific decisions, read this story.)
Trustees had three options on Wednesday: they could accept the decision, reject it, or take no action. Under state law, the decision will take effect unless rejected by the board within 20 days of its issuance.
Village President Marilyn Michelini was unable to attend Wednesday’s meeting, and trustees said she will issue a statement on the arbitration decision next week. Neither the union’s president, Ryder Kern, nor the union’s attorney, Joseph Mazzone, would comment Wednesday night.
According to village records, the cost of hiring Camden to arbitrate the deal was $4,525.30. That will be splt evenly between the village and the union, with both sides also paying attorney's fees.