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BRIMFIELD - The state Labor Relations Commission will meet with members of the Brimfield Police Association and the Board of Selectmen at a settlement hearing set for Aug. 31.
Members of the Brimfield Police Association have charged that they were wrongfully terminated last year when 10 part-time and eight auxiliary officers were not reappointed to their jobs.
Association president Charles H. Laperle said the officers were in the process of joining the Teamsters Union as part of Local 170 when their appointments were denied.
Laperle and other officers charged that they were, "illegally fired because of union activities."
"The selectmen's argument was that they wanted the new chief to choose his staff," Laperle said.
At the time, the town's police chief had resigned and the board was in the process of hiring a new chief.
"But they didn't reappoint the most outspoken proponents of the union even after the new chief submitted our names for reappointment," Laperle said. "So their argument doesn't make sense.
Since then, three of the association members were rehired, though the former sergeant, Joel Norton, was demoted to patrolman.
While selectmen declined to comment on the hearing, they acknowledged they've received a notice of the session and plan to attend.
Laperle said that the former officers also are looking forward to the meeting.
"We're hoping to be able to put this behind us after a year," he said. "We're looking forward to coming back to work for the town."
If the town and the former officers aren't able to reach a settlement, the matter will move to a pre-hearing conference and then to a hearing with the state Labor Relations Board.

The article fails to mention that the Labor Relations Commission issued a complaint AGAINST the town. :lol: This is the first step toward justice!

Posted Tue Aug 10, 2004 9:48 am:

BRIMFIELD - The town's small police department is trying to keep its three officers working no more than 20 hours each week, but that's difficult without compromising police coverage.
Police Chief Charles T. Kuss said last night selectmen might get better value for the town's money if they hired two or three full-time officers rather than allowing the few patrolmen who work now to exceed 20 hours and become eligible for benefits.
Selectmen said that if officers consistently need to work more than 20 hours, the board would have to make some decisions.
"If there's a need to go over 20 hours, we're going to need to sit down and talk about it," Selectmen Chairwoman Carol Delnegro said.
Selectmen fear that officers who work more than 20 hours each week for long periods would become eligible for benefits including health insurance, vacation and sick time.
Employees who work over their maximum hours for short periods can be designated as "seasonal" employees and not be entitled to those benefits, Delnegro said.
Kuss said after the meeting that with just three officers, all of whom can only work 20 hours per week, he can't fill all shifts.
The force has been cut from 18 part-time and auxiliary officers to four part-timers to save money, but since then one has resigned and his job has not been filled, Kuss said.
When he was initially asked to present a list of names for appointment, Kuss listed all the officers who lost their jobs when they weren't reappointed before he was hired. Though selectmen said they wanted to let Kuss choose his staff, they chose four names from the list and didn't rehire all of the officers.
Kuss said his officers are "eager to work" but can't fill all the open shifts because of the restriction on the number of hours.
"There are certainly hours available," he said.

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