Thursday, April 29, 1999

Clermont, dispatch union to meet

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BATAVIA — A conciliation meeting between representatives of emergency dispatchers and Clermont County officials has been set for June 10.

        Issues include wages and the county's desire to establish the legal right to privatize emergency dispatch services, which the union representing the 19 dispatchers opposes.

        The decision by the State Employment Relations Board, which is binding, would likely take several weeks to formalize.

        As such, the dispatchers would work under its conditions for the length of the two-year contract. The dispatchers' previous three-year contract expired in January.

        The sides have met once since the employment relations board issued a fact-finding report March 26.

        In that 13-page report, the board recommended that the county not adopt the plan to consider privatizing dispatch services, but also criticized the dispatchers' stance as “too constraining.”

        The Fraternal Order of Police-Ohio Labor Council (FOP- OLC), which is representing the dispatchers, agreed to the conditions of the recommendation, but the county rejected them.

        Deborah McCormick, staff representative for the FOP-OLC, said Wednesday the one meeting since the board's recommendation was “not fruitful,” but she still hopes an agreement can be reached.

        The involvement of the State Employment Relations Board is a routine part of such labor impasses, and doesn't reflect a complaint filed by either side.

        County commissioners regard as fiscally responsible the trend in privatizing some government-provided services, and say that in no way would they compromise the quality of emergency dispatch services.

        In another privatization move, the county is taking bids from private firms to operate the county water district.


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