Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Deputy residency back to arbitrator

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Norbert Nadel on Tuesday kicked back to an arbitrator the Hamilton County sheriff's request that all deputies live in the county.

Nadel said the arbitrator appointed to settle a contract dispute between Sheriff Simon Leis and patrol deputies - Janet C. Goulet - did not act impartially when she ruled on June 28 that deputies could live outside the county.

Nadel ordered the State Employment Relations Board to appoint a new arbitrator.

"The extreme that Janet Goulet went to in order to justify her ruling on the issue of residency is further evidence that she was partial," Nadel said.

Contract negotiations between the Fraternal Order of Police on behalf of the Hamilton County sheriff's deputies and Leis started in mid-2002 and weren't completed when the contract expired at the end of 2002.

Of 35 provisions, the sheriff and union could not agree on 10 issues, so the contract went to arbitration, with both sides agreeing on Goulet as arbitrator. She was then appointed by the state.

Goulet ruled that deputies could live outside the county - reversing a long-time sheriff's office policy requiring that all employees to live in the county.

The ruling would affect almost 300 deputies and supervisors.

Leis accused Goulet of favoritism and challenged her ruling in court, saying she acted improperly.


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