HUBBARD TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – The union representing Hubbard Township police officers unanimously approved a fact-finder’s report two days after trustees rejected it. Now a conciliator will come in, meet with each side separately and write up the contract for them.
Members of F.O.P. Lodge #85 voted on the 30-page report that looked at issues regarding a new collective bargaining agreement between the township and the police union.
All eight members chose to accept the findings, even with the suggestion of a short-term contract, a wage freeze in 2020 and no uniform allowance.
“We felt that it was a fair agreement,” said Christopher Gifford, union president. “It was the recommendation from the fact-finder through his report in order to keep this department going.”
The union’s contract expired at the end of 2019.
On Wednesday, the union issued a scathing response to trustees, saying the union has “zero confidence” in their actions.
Trustees have said they rejected the fact-finder’s report in order to continue negotiations with the union in the hopes of saving the police department. There have been talks about disbanding the police department, leaving patrols up to the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office, in order to save money.
The union said, however, trustees are displaying “flagrant self-destructive behavior” in regard to the police department.
Union officials said they disagree with the rehiring of Police Chief Todd Coonce, among other issues.
The fact-finder was brought in to help the sides reach a contract agreement.
Since trustees rejected the report, the next step is conciliation, which is a final offer settlement procedure for unions prohibited from striking.
According to the State Employment Relations Board, the conciliator will ultimately write a binding award. A hearing date will be set soon.