The Gage County Board of Supervisors is continuing its negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police after a decision this week to allow sergeants into the union.
The board approved allowing sergeants at the Gage County Sheriff’s Office into the union following a closed session during Wednesday’s meeting.
Negotiations with the FOP are ongoing, but the decision should resolve a complaint the union previously filed with the Commission of Industrial Relations.
“We have not come to an agreement with the FOP yet with the whole contract,” said County Board Chairman Myron Dorn. “This was something that they were requesting as we went into negotiations…They did file with the CIR against Gage County to have sergeants in there. There was going to be a hearing on that in early February. Since then, the county has agreed to allow the sergeants back in. This is the legal process we need to go through to have both sides agree to the fact and that case with the CIR will be withdrawn.”
Board member Erich Tiemann said that sergeants were previously removed to prevent a conflict of interest that could follow being in the same union as subordinates, while board member Gary Lytle expressed frustration, saying that the FOP filed a complaint with the CIR before attempting to negotiate with the county.
“It was brought up in the first negotiating session and it was not something mutually agreed upon or disagreed upon at that point,” Lytle said. "Then they took it to CIR.”
Dorn also said the issue wasn’t discussed with the FOP, and that negotiations toward an overall agreement will continue at future meetings.
“The sergeants were not included in there, I believe maybe four years ago in that contract,” he said. “We knew as a county and they knew, also, that would be something on the table for negotiations this time. We never even had an opportunity as a county to discuss with them and basically agree with them if we would include it or not include it. They turned around and filed at the CIR before we really had much negotiations with that.”