BATH | A state judge did not rule the village bargained in bad faith during its negotiations with the Bath Police Benevolent Association, village attorney John Corcoran said Wednesday.
Corcoran also disputed claims made Tuesday by PBA officials that state Public Employment Relations Board administrative law Judge Alicia McNally ordered the village to resume face-to-face negotiations.
The two groups have not met since negotiations broke down in late June. The police department’s five-year contract expired June 1.
“McNally did not rule the parties must be back at a session table,” Corcoran said. “She did not render any such order.”
Corcoran said both parties agreed during a phone conference Monday to put the bad faith bargaining charge on hold and to schedule a telephone conference.
“At which time the village’s team will clarify the status of its most recent package to the PBA, with the understanding that we would proceed to the mediation process,” Corcoran said.”
However, Bath PBA President Colin Taft on Wednesday stood by his claims that McNally told him the village bargained in bad faith.
“All I know is what Judge McNally told us on the phone,” Taft said. “She said that ‘it is bad-faith bargaining and I’m ordering them back to negotiations.’”
McNally could not be reached Wednesday afternoon for comment. She is expected to disclose her ruling soon in a letter to the two parties.
Taft said village officials were ordered to resume negotiations, and the PBA agreed to do a conference call instead of meeting face-to-face.
“If we would have continued to argue the matter over the phone, I’m confident we could have forced a meeting at the table,” Taft said. “But it was kind of irrelevant.”
Corcoran said the village is eager to enter into mediation with mediator Tim Gorman.
“We’re looking forward to working with him in an effort to see if we can reach a voluntary labor agreement,” Corcoran said. “The village will be seeking a multi-year agreement.”
The PBA is also seeking a multi-year contractual agreement, Taft said.
When negotiations resume, chief among the PBA demands will be returning the investigator position recently eliminated by the Village Board. Also on the table will be the village police chief position, which will be vacant when Chief David Rouse retired in Oct. 26.