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No contract yet

PRINCETON – An unfair labor practice complaint has been filed against Bureau County with the Illinois Labor Relations Board by the Police Benevolent Labor Committee (PBLC).

As explained at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Bureau County Board, the crux of the complaint is that a contract agreement was apparently reached on or around May 31 with the county, Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson and the Police Benevolent Labor Committee (PBLC) on a new two-year contract, but the sheriff has not yet signed it.

Board member Steve Sondgeroth brought up the contract issue, asking why it had not yet been signed.

Board Chairman Dale Anderson said a tentative collective bargaining agreement was reached on or around May 31 between the county, the sheriff and the PBLC. When the labor attorney asked if everyone was in agreement, there were no concerns voiced by anyone, as he remembered it, Anderson said.

Negotiating team members Bob Albrecht, Mike Maynard and Jeff Mangrich agreed with Anderson, saying they do not remember any concerns being voiced at that meeting.

On Thursday, Anderson said the sheriff has put up a stumbling block to getting this contract ratified. The county board approved the tentative contract agreement at its June meeting, and he signed it. The PBLC was ready to sign the agreement, but the sheriff has not signed it.

The complaint against the sheriff and the county was filed on Aug. 1 with the Illinois Labor Relations Board, and the county received the notice on Aug. 5, Anderson said. No date has been set for a hearing date before the Labor Relations Board.

Concerning the work of the deputies, Anderson said the deputies are currently working under the old two-year contract with the Fraternal Order of Police, which stays in effect until a new agreement is reached and signed by all parties. The new contract, once ratified, will be effective from Dec. 1, 2012, through Nov. 30, 2014.

On Friday, Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson said he, as sheriff, is the one who is responsible for enforcing and maintaining the contract. The county is listed in the complaint (with the Labor Relations Board) because the county pays the salaries.

Both he and the union agree there are deep problems inherent in the language of the new contract which need to be changed and corrected, Thompson said.

Last spring, he was willing to sign a sidebar agreement which would go ahead with the raises for the deputies, and therefore allowing more time to further address the language problems within the contract, Thompson said. One of the problems dealt with the dismissal of an employee, but that was not the only issue, he said.

At that time, he thought everyone was in agreement on the side letter for the raises, Thompson said. When he was brought the actual contract itself to sign, he couldn’t do it, he said.

Thompson said a meeting is set for Aug. 21 with involved parties to discuss the next step.

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