Paris Police drop complaint and prepare parking tickets

By Erin Place

 

PARIS—The Paris Police Department’s union has dropped its grievance with the town, Town Manager Amy Bernard announced at the selectmen’s meeting on Monday night.

Town attorney Geoff Hole told Bernard the union, which is represented by the teamsters, issued a grievance over a couple of articles in the contract about two weeks ago. According to Paris Police Chief Michael Madden, the grievance focused on contract language surrounding employee benefits.

Before the meeting, Bernard was unsure of the reasoning behind the withdrawal.

“I don’t know why they dropped it,” she said. “I gave them my response that I didn’t feel it was a warranted grievance and they wanted to go to arbitration. That’s why we had executive session to discuss the arbitration [two weeks ago]. After I got back with them about who we were going to choose as an arbitrator and trying to decide on that, they gave me a two line ‘We’re withdrawing our grievance.’”

Madden shared similar sentiments.

“I did not feel the grievance had merit and I denied it at the first step.  The process is that it is then sent to the town to either accept, negotiate, or deny. They did review it and also denied it.  We were set to go to arbitration but the union withdrew the complaint,” Madden wrote to the Advertiser Democrat via email. “I cannot comment on why it was withdrawn by the union but as in many cases involving workplace benefits, we often agree to disagree, or live to fight another day so to speak. Arbitration can sometimes be costly.  Both sides have to pick their battles at times.” 

The contract with the union remains in effect until June 30, 2016, according to Bernard.

“This grievance in no way effects the current contract or future negotiations,” Madden wrote.

In other police department news, the department is currently working on a draft parking/violations ticket, and within the next two to three weeks will begin issuing tickets in Market Square.

According to Bernard, parking was one of the issues that was repeatedly brought to light by business owners during last year’s Paris Revitalization Forum.

“If you are parking in Market Square where it says ‘two hour parking’ or more than an hour where it says ‘one hour parking,’ you will get a ticket,” Bernard said.

Paris Selectmen Vice Chairman Robert Wessons confirmed with Bernard that it wasn’t a change in policy.

“We haven’t been enforcing it in a very long time,” she said. “Most of the owners in the square repeatedly complained that people park in front of their business and leave their car there all day. … It’s a lot of just trying to be mindful and more considerate to the system we do have here so we can garner more business for them.”

Selectman Janet Jamison asked Bernard if she could post on the town’s website and Facebook page where there is other parking available for people. Bernard agreed and said she would also send out a press release soon.