Pacific County public safety workers will vote on contract

A new contract for the non-deputized employees of the Pacific County Sheriff’s Department will be voted on by members of its union, with voting concluding on Sept 17, according to a press release issued by the union negotiators.

The spokesman for the union, Secretary-Treasurer Darren L. O’Neil of Teamsters Union Local 252, declined to release any of the details of the proposed contract, “The proposed terms of the offer are not being released at this time as the Union has not had an opportunity to present them to the group as a whole.”

The union negotiators said they are seeking raises on par with those received by the deputized members of the Sheriff’s Department. County commissioners have said publicly that they currently do not have the budget for the raise. The union has authorized a strike if negotiations fail.

A strike could possibly endanger public safety, Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson said last week, but he is taking steps to train other county employees to fill in the vacant positions if a strike is declared. The regular training for support service personnel takes weeks or even months, he said.

“We are trying to do it in a matter of days,” Johnson said last week. “You just can’t take that experience away and expect us to function.”