On March 13, 2009, an arbitrator ruled on another grievance by the Police Benevolent Association of Mount Kisco filed against the Village of Mount Kisco.
The grievance was a result of the Village of Mount Kisco properly denying education reimbursement payments to a member of the PBA. The reimbursement of courses is clearly covered in the Village’s contract with the PBA. While the Village of Mount Kisco encourages and will pay 100% of the costs of “college level courses leading to an Associate Degree in Police Science”, it will not pay for other courses.
The arbitrator wrote in his decision:
“To ignore that sentence and misconstrue it to mean any two years of a college program, Associate or Bachelors degree, stretches the fabric of the provision into something which I think would not be recognizable to those who bargained and agreed upon it. People on both sides of the table who bargain labor contracts do not spend their time shoveling smoke.”
“Article XVII is clear in providing educational benefits and the limitations and conditions placed on it. For the reasons set forth above, grievants are not entitled to reimbursement for their Bachelor of Science courses. They seek a benefit which the PBA must obtain at the bargaining table, not from an arbitrator”
Indeed. There are no winners in this arbitration hearing. The PBA are clear losers spending their time and money on a losing argument. The Village and its taxpayers lost by spending taxpayer money on this arbitration hearing forced upon the Village by the PBA’s counsel. This is, of course, money that could have been used to lower taxes. The money spent defending this and the myriad of grievances filed by the PBA could be used to provide better police services, including additional officers or maybe even additional educational reimbursement for officers. The Village Board would like to spend less on lawyers and more on providing better benefits to its employees and providing better services to its taxpayers.
Unfortunately, it is not the Village Board’s choice.