Police union files suit against city

Published 6:37 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Port Arthur Police Association has filed a lawsuit against the city urging them to appoint an arbitrator while the city contends they agreed to mediation instead of arbitration.

The police union had filed legal documents saying they are at an impasse regarding contract mediation on May 27 and according to state law the writ for binding interest arbitration requires the city appoint an arbitrator within five days.

The city responded to the issue, per letter dated June 3, that it would not agree to arbitration proceedings.

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On Monday, June 6, representatives of the police union filed a writ of mandamus with the county “compelling the city to pick an arbitrator,” police union president Sgt. Scott Gaspard said.

“We are compelling the city to move forward with statutorial arbitration. By law they had five days to pick an arbitrator and they have not done that,” Gaspard said, adding the lawsuit is a way to compel the city to comply.

Gaspard said the association would continue to try mediation as well.

The lawsuit was filed in the 172nd District Court.

Port Arthur City Manager Brian McDougal said the city is disappointed with the police association’s position on the issue as 31 of 46 articles of the police contract have been agreed to as well as the understanding the union agreed to mediation instead of arbitration.

“We are disappointed they (Port Arthur Police Association) filed a lawsuit regarding arbitration,” McDougal said.

The last collective bargaining agreement between the two parties was approved by city council in 2015. A disagreement between the police union and the city dates back to what the union call a typographical error regarding the dates of a one-year contract extension.