Brigantine City Manager & Public Safety Unions in Violation of NJ State Law?

Tiger platt
OK with Expired Contracts?

Could Brigantine’s City Manager & Public Safety union reps be in violation of New Jersey state law? It certainly seems that way. Some even suggest that Mayor Guenther and certain members of Brigantine City Council could also be held liable for allowing expired public safety contracts to extend indefinitely.

To date, Brigantine City Manager; Ed Stinson’s effort to reach a fair agreement with the public safety unions have gone nowhere. Talks with Brigantine Fire Dept. union rep Tiger Platt, & Police union rep Richard Deleon have been mostly fruitless for the past 18 months, unless of course you’re racking up billable hours as an attorney. Could this activity, or lack thereof, be in violation of a new NJ State Law? If you read Section 3 of P.L.1977, c.85 (C.34:13A-16) that could be possible.

One of Stinson’s main jobs is to manage employees and keep a close eye on the City Hall financials. Since public employee unions take up a lion’s share of the city budget, one would assume that the city manager would make this a top priority.

The Brigantine Police Department contract expired on DEC 31 2012….The Brigantine Fire Department contract expired on DEC. 31, 2013.

Why the foot dragging on signing a new police, fire (& teachers) contract in Brigantine? Some say there’s no real pressure to sign a new deal. Most residents agree that the current (expired but still valid) terms will never be agreed to again….in Brigantine…..or any town for that matter.

Brigantine public union employees make up a large portion of the local voter base.

It’s been noted that Mayor Guenther and Councilman Andy Simpson are just employing an age old tactic of ‘taking care’ of their constituents. Nucky Johnson & Hap Farley used these tactics to keep control of their position in Atlantic City.

Read about Brigantine Greenhead Politics Here

The expired, yet valid contracts were OK’ed by former Brigantine City Manager & Public Safety Director; Jim Barber…..and boy o boy…..are they sweet deals for the employees. That’s why City Manager Stinson, Mayor Guenther, union leaders; DeLeon & Platt are in no hurry to sign a new agreement.

The old (expired) contracts are so awesome for the public union employees. No need to do a new (and likely less appealing) deal.

2015-06-16_21-24-43

FACT: Many public employees have salaries & benefits that cost Brigantine taxpayers well over $200,000 per year for each employee.


See Firefighter contract here http://bb-nj.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Firefighters-Contract1.pdf

See Police contract here http://bb-nj.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/PBA-Contract-2009-20121.pdf

AN ACT concerning police and fire arbitration and amending and supplementing P.L.1977, c.85. BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1     Section 3 of P.L.1977, c.85 (C.34:13A-16) is amended to read as follows:

  1. a. (1) Negotiations between a public fire or police department and an exclusive representative concerning the terms and conditions of employment shall begin at least 120 days prior to the day on which their collective negotiation agreement is to expire.  The parties shall meet at least three times during that 120-day period.  The first of those three meetings shall take place no later than the 90th day prior to the day on which their collective negotiation agreement is to expire.  By mutual consent, the parties may agree to extend the period during which the second and third meetings are required to take place beyond the day on which their collective negotiation agreement is to expire.  A violation of this paragraph shall constitute an unfair practice and the violator shall be subject to the penalties prescribed by the commission pursuant to rule and regulation.

Prior to the expiration of their collective negotiation agreement, either party may file an unfair practice charge with the commission alleging that the other party is refusing to negotiate in good faith.  The charge shall be filed in the manner, form and time specified by the commission in rule and regulation.  If the charge is sustained, the commission shall order that the respondent be assessed for all legal and administrative costs associated with the filing and resolution of the charge; if the charge is dismissed, the commission shall order that the charging party be assessed for all legal and administrative costs associated with the filing and resolution of the charge.  The filing and resolution of the unfair practice charge shall not delay or impair the impasse resolution process.

(2)   Whenever those negotiations concerning the terms and conditions of employment shall reach an impasse, the commission, through the Division of Public Employment Relations shall, upon the request of either party, or upon its own motion take such steps, including the assignment of a mediator, as it may deem expedient to effect a voluntary resolution of the impasse.

  1. (1) In the event of a failure to resolve the impasse by mediation, the Division of Public Employment Relations, at the request of either party, shall invoke factfinding with recommendation for settlement of all issues in dispute unless the parties reach a voluntary settlement prior to the issuance of the factfinder’s report and recommended terms of settlement. Factfindings shall be limited to those issues that are within the required scope of negotiations unless the parties to the factfinding agree to factfinding on permissive subjects of negotiation.  [In the event of a continuing failure to resolve an impasse by means of the procedure set forth in this paragraph, and notwithstanding the fact that such procedures have not been exhausted, the parties shall notify the commission, at a time and in a manner prescribed by the commission, as to whether or not they have agreed upon a terminal procedure for resolving the issues in dispute.  Any terminal procedure mutually agreed upon by the parties shall be reduced to writing, provide for finality in resolving the issues in dispute, and shall be submitted to the commission for approval.]

(2)   Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (2) of subsection a. of this section or paragraph (1) of this subsection, either party may petition the commission for arbitration on or after the date on which their collective negotiation agreement expires.  The petition shall be filed in a manner and form prescribed by the commission.  The party filing the petition shall notify the other party of its action. The notice shall be given in a manner and form prescribed by the commission.

[Within 10 days of the receipt of the notice by the non-petitioning party, the parties shall notify the commission as to whether or not they have agreed upon a terminal procedure for resolving the issues in dispute.  Any terminal procedure mutually agreed upon by the parties shall be reduced to writing, provide for finality in resolving the issues in dispute, and shall be submitted to the commission for approval.  If the parties fail to agree on a terminal procedure, they shall be subject to the provisions of subsection d. of this section.]  Any mediation or factfinding invoked pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection a. of this section or paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section shall terminate immediately upon the filing of a petition for arbitration.

  1. [Terminal procedures that are approvable include, but shall not be limited to the following:

(1)   Conventional arbitration of all unsettled items.

(2)   Arbitration under which the award by an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators is confined to a choice between (a) the last offer of the employer and (b) the last offer of the employees’ representative, as a single package.

(3)   Arbitration under which the award is confined to a choice between (a) the last offer of the employer and (b) the last offer of the employees’ representative, on each issue in dispute, with the decision on an issue-by-issue basis.

(4)   If there is a factfinder’s report with recommendations on the issues in dispute, the parties may agree to arbitration under which the award would be confined to a choice among three positions:  (a) the last offer of the employer as a single package, (b) the last offer of the employees’ representative as a single package, or (c) the factfinder’s recommendations as a single package.

(5)   If there is a factfinder’s report with a recommendation on each of the issues in dispute, the parties may agree to arbitration under which the award would be confined to a choice on each issue from among three positions:  (a) the last offer of the employer on the issue, (b) the employee representative’s last offer on the issue, or (c) the factfinder’s recommendation on the issue.

(6)   Arbitration under which the award on the economic issues in dispute is confined to a choice between (a) the last offer of the employer on the economic issues as a single package and (b) the employee representative’s last offer on the economic issues as a single package; and, on any noneconomic issues in dispute, the award is confined to a choice between (a) the last offer of the employer on each issue in dispute and (b) the employee representative’s last offer on that issue.] Deleted by amendment, P.L.    , c.   (pending before the Legislature as this bill)

  1. The [following procedure shall be utilized if parties fail to agree on a terminal procedure for the settlement of an impasse dispute:

(1)   In the event of a failure of the parties to agree upon an acceptable terminal procedure the parties shall separately so notify the commission in writing, indicating all issues in dispute and the reasons for their inability to agree on the procedure.  The substance of a written notification shall not provide the basis for any delay in effectuating the provisions of this subsection.

(2)   Upon receipt of such notification from either party or on the commission’s own motion, the procedure to provide finality for the] resolution of issues in dispute shall be binding arbitration under which the award on the unsettled issues is determined by conventional arbitration.  The arbitrator shall [separately] determine whether the total net annual economic changes for each year of the agreement are reasonable under the nine statutory criteria set forth in subsection g. of this section and shall adhere to the limitations set forth in section 2 of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The non-petitioning party, within five days of receipt of the petition, shall separately notify the commission in writing of all issues in dispute.  The filing of the written response shall not delay, in any manner, the interest arbitration process.

  1. (1) The commission shall take measures to assure the impartial selection of an arbitrator or arbitrators from its special panel of arbitrators.  [Unless the parties, in a time and manner prescribed by the commission, mutually agree upon the selection of an arbitrator from the commission’s special panel of arbitrators and so notify the commission in writing of that selection, the assignment of any arbitrator for the purposes of this act shall be the responsibility of the commission, independent of and without any participation by either of the parties.  The commission shall select the arbitrator for assignment by lot.

In any proceeding where an arbitrator selected by mutual agreement is unable to serve, the two parties shall be afforded an opportunity to select a replacement.  If the two parties are unable to mutually agree upon the selection of a replacement within a time period prescribed by the commission, the commission shall select the replacement in the manner hereinafter provided.

In any proceeding where an assigned arbitrator is unable to serve or, pursuant to the preceding paragraph, the two parties are unable to mutually agree upon a replacement, the commission shall assign a replacement arbitrator.  The assignment shall be the responsibility of the commission, independent of and without any participation by either of the parties.  The commission shall select the replacement arbitrator for assignment by lot.]  On the first business day following receipt of an interest arbitration petition, the commission shall, independent of and without any participation by either of the parties, randomly select an arbitrator from its special panel of arbitrators.  The selection by the commission shall be final and shall not be subject to review or appeal.

(2)   Applicants for initial appointment to the commission’s special panel of arbitrators shall be chosen based on their professional qualifications, knowledge, and experience, in accordance with the criteria and rules adopted by the commission.  Such rules shall include relevant knowledge of local government operations and budgeting.  Appointment to the commission’s special panel of arbitrators shall be for a three-year term, with reappointment contingent upon a screening process similar to that used for determining initial appointments.  Arbitrators currently serving on the panel shall demonstrate to the commission their professional qualification, knowledge and experience, in accordance with the criteria and rules adopted by the commission, within one year of the effective date of this act.  Any arbitrator who does not satisfactorily demonstrate such to the commission within the specified time shall be disqualified.

(3)   Arbitrators serving on the commission’s special panel shall be guided by and subject to the objectives and principles set forth in the “Code of Professional Responsibility for Arbitrators of Labor-Management Disputers” of the National Academy of Arbitrators, the American Arbitration Association, and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

1(4) Arbitrators shall be required to complete annual training offered by the State Ethics Commission.  Any arbitrator failing to satisfactorily complete the annual training shall be immediately removed from the special panel.1

The commission may suspend, remove, or otherwise discipline an arbitrator for a violation of P.L.1977, c.85 (C.34:13A-14 et seq.), section 4 of P.L.1995, c.425 (C.34:13A-16.1) or for good cause.  An arbitrator who fails to render an award within the time requirements set forth in this section shall be fined $1,000 for each day that the award is late.

  1. (1) At a time prescribed by the commission, the parties shall submit to the arbitrator [or tripartite panel of arbitrators] their final offers on each economic and non-economic issue in dispute.  The offers submitted pursuant to this section shall be used by the arbitrator for the purposes of determining an award pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection d. of this section.  [The commission shall promulgate rules and procedures governing the submission of the offers required under this paragraph, including when those offers shall be deemed final, binding and irreversible.]

(2)   In the event of a dispute, the commission shall have the power to decide which issues are economic issues.  Economic issues include those items which have a direct relation to employee income including wages, salaries, hours in relation to earnings, and other forms of compensation such as paid vacation, paid holidays, health and medical insurance, and other economic benefits to employees.

(3)   Throughout formal arbitration proceedings the chosen arbitrator [or panel of arbitrators] may mediate or assist the parties in reaching a mutually agreeable settlement.

All parties to arbitration shall present, at the formal hearing before the issuance of the award, written estimates of the financial impact of their last offer on the taxpayers of the local unit to the arbitrator with the submission of their last offer.

(4)   Arbitration shall be limited to those subjects that are within the required scope of collective negotiations, except that the parties may agree to submit to arbitration one or more permissive subjects of negotiation.

(5)   The decision of an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators shall include an opinion and an award, and shall be rendered within [120] 45 days of the [selection of the arbitrator by the mutual agreement of both parties or the] commission’s assignment of that arbitrator [or panel of arbitrators, as the case may be, pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection e. of this section; provided, however, the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators, for good cause, may petition the commission for an extension of not more than 60 days.  The two parties, by mutual consent, may agree to an extension.  The parties shall notify the arbitrator and the commission of any such agreement in writing.  The notice shall set forth the specific date on which the extension shall expire].

Each arbitrator’s decision shall be accompanied by a written report explaining how each of the statutory criteria played into the arbitrator’s determination of the final award.  The report shall certify that the arbitrator took the statutory limitations imposed on the local levy cap into account in making the award.

Any arbitrator [or panel of arbitrators] violating the provisions of this paragraph may be subject to the commission’s powers under paragraph [(2)] (3) of subsection e. of this section.  The decision shall be final and binding upon the parties and shall be irreversible, except:

(a)   Within [14] seven days of receiving an award, an aggrieved party may file notice of an appeal of an award to the commission on the grounds that the arbitrator failed to apply the criteria specified in subsection g. of this section or violated the standards set forth in N.J.S.2A:24-8 or N.J.S.2A:24-9.  The appeal shall be filed in a form and manner prescribed by the commission.  In deciding an appeal, the commission, pursuant to rule and regulation and upon petition, may afford the parties the opportunity to present oral arguments.  The commission may affirm, modify, correct or vacate the award or may, at its discretion, remand the award to the same arbitrator or to another arbitrator, selected by lot, for reconsideration.  The commission’s decision shall be rendered no later than 30 days after the filing of the appeal with the commission.

Arbitration appeal decisions shall be accompanied by a written report explaining how each of the statutory criteria played into their determination of the final award.  The report shall certify that in deciding the appeal, the commission took the local levy cap into account in making the award.

An aggrieved party may appeal a decision of the commission to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.

(b)   An arbitrator’s award [that is not appealed to the commission] shall be implemented immediately.  [An award that is appealed and not set aside by the commission shall be implemented within 14 days of the receipt of the commission’s decision absent a stay.]

(6)   The parties shall [bear] share equally the costs of arbitration subject to a fee schedule approved by the commission.  The fee schedule shall provide that the cost of services provided by the arbitrator shall not exceed $1,000 per day.  The total cost of services of an arbitrator shall not exceed $7,500.  If the parties cancel an arbitration proceeding without good cause, the arbitrator may impose a fee of not more than $500.  The parties shall share equally in paying that fee if the request to cancel or adjourn is a joint request.  Otherwise, the party causing such cancellation shall be responsible for payment of the entire fee.

  1. The arbitrator [or panel of arbitrators] shall decide the dispute based on a reasonable determination of the issues, giving due weight to those factors listed below that are judged relevant for the resolution of the specific dispute.  In the award, the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators shall indicate which of the factors are deemed relevant, satisfactorily explain why the others are not relevant, and provide an analysis of the evidence on each relevant factor; provided, however, that in every interest arbitration proceeding, the parties shall introduce evidence regarding the factor set forth in paragraph (6) of this subsection and the arbitrator shall analyze and consider the factors set forth in paragraph (6) of this subsection in any award:

(1)   The interests and welfare of the public.  Among the items the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators shall assess when considering this factor are the limitations imposed upon the employer by P.L.1976, c.68 (C.40A:4-45.1 et seq.).

(2)   Comparison of the wages, salaries, hours, and conditions of employment of the employees involved in the arbitration proceedings with the wages, hours, and conditions of employment of other employees performing the same or similar services and with other employees generally:

(a)   In private employment in general; provided, however, each party shall have the right to submit additional evidence for the arbitrator’s consideration.

(b)   In public employment in general; provided, however, each party shall have the right to submit additional evidence for the arbitrator’s consideration.

(c)   In public employment in the same or similar comparable jurisdictions, as determined in accordance with section 5 of P.L.1995, c.425 (C.34:13A-16.2); provided, however, that each party shall have the right to submit additional evidence concerning the comparability of jurisdictions for the arbitrator’s consideration.

(3)   The overall compensation presently received by the employees, inclusive of direct wages, salary, vacations, holidays, excused leaves, insurance and pensions, medical and hospitalization benefits, and all other economic benefits received.

(4)   Stipulations of the parties.

(5)   The lawful authority of the employer.  Among the items the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators shall assess when considering this factor are the limitations imposed upon the employer by P.L.1976, c.68 (C.40A:4-45.1 et seq.).

(6)   The financial impact on the governing unit, its residents, the limitations imposed upon the local unit’s property tax levy pursuant to section 10 of P.L.2007, c.62 (C40A:4-45.45), and taxpayers.  When considering this factor in a dispute in which the public employer is a county or a municipality, the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators shall take into account, to the extent that evidence is introduced, how the award will affect the municipal or county purposes element, as the case may be, of the local property tax; a comparison of the percentage of the municipal purposes element or, in the case of a county, the county purposes element, required to fund the employees’ contract in the preceding local budget year with that required under the award for the current local budget year; the impact of the award for each income sector of the property taxpayers of the local unit; the impact of the award on the ability of the governing body to (a) maintain existing local programs and services, (b) expand existing local programs and services for which public moneys have been designated by the governing body in a proposed local budget, or (c) initiate any new programs and services for which public moneys have been designated by the governing body in a proposed local budget.

(7)   The cost of living.

(8)   The continuity and stability of employment including seniority rights and such other factors not confined to the foregoing which are ordinarily or traditionally considered in the determination of wages, hours, and conditions of employment through collective negotiations and collective bargaining between the parties in the public service and in private employment.

(9)   Statutory restrictions imposed on the employer.  Among the items the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators shall assess when considering this factor are the limitations imposed upon the employer by section 10 of P.L.2007, c.62 (C.40A:4-45.45).

  1. A mediator, factfinder, or arbitrator while functioning in a mediatory capacity shall not be required to disclose any files, records, reports, documents, or other papers classified as confidential received or prepared by him or to testify with regard to mediation, conducted by him under this act on behalf of any party to any cause pending in any type of proceeding under this act.  Nothing contained herein shall exempt such an individual from disclosing information relating to the commission of a crime.

(cf:  P.L.2007, c.62, s.14)

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4 thoughts on “Brigantine City Manager & Public Safety Unions in Violation of NJ State Law?”

  1. We are like outback steak house…. We have no rules (obviously!) and are just right (even when we’re wrong!)

  2. I’m starting my own FB page called – Really Brigantine, (I dumped my kids college fund to pay my real estate taxes) .. ALL Positive, ..and someday with some luck, my kids will benefit & hit the jackpot and have a job the RINO’s & Barber will give even better contracts. WHOOO-HOOO .. gotta take care of the kids & grandkids, eh Jimmy ? ..with OPM, right ? (other people’s money)

  3. Brigantine city government has for years been corrupt. The same names (neotism) have been collecting pay checks. Ed Stinson is a sham – you should check out the mansion he lives in. A public servant? Please….more like a public leech.

    It’s time folks start standing up and fighting to get shared municipal services. There is no reason to have payrolls of this scope in small towns. Ridiculous. And that’s not counting the hours these insiders bill the city annually. Disgusting.

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