Grievances cost county $150,000

Published 10:09 am Friday, May 1, 2009

An arbitrator has sided with the employees of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office in two grievances filed against the county. The arbitrator’s decisions will cost the county $150,000.

Attorney Mark McCown, who represented the Lawrence County Commission in the dispute, told the commission Thursday he got official notification of the decisions earlier this week.

The grievances were filed a couple of years ago, McCown said. One pertained to the amount those employees paid for health insurance. The other grievance was filed when employees learned former Sheriff Tim Sexton failed to notify the union the county commission was considering making changes to the county’s health insurance plan.

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Arbitrator Michelle Miller Kotula ruled the grievances violated the county’s contract with the sheriff’s employees.

“Obviously we disagree but this is binding arbitration,” McCown said. He said the $150,000 will be paid out of the current sheriff’s office budget.

Deputy Charlie Hammond, union representative for the sheriff’s office, was not immediately available for comment.