Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Community members concerned pivotal matters like discipline will be discussed in closed sessions

PMG FILE PHOTO - The city of West Linn has begun contract negotiations with CCPOA, the union representing WLPD officers. Negotiators for the city of West Linn and Clackamas County Peace Officers Association reached tentative agreements on a number of changes to the union contract for West Linn's sworn officers at the first open bargaining session between the city and police union April 19.

The items covered last week included contract articles about association dues, grievances and arbitration, non-discrimination, the Public Employee Retirement System and sleep deprivation.

Responding to requests from the community, the city and CCPOA decided to make every other bargaining session this year open to the public. The current contract for rank-and-file West Linn officers was adopted in 2016, granted a two-year extension in 2018 and another one-year extension in 2020.

Some community members, including the West Linn Community for Police Reform, felt the details discussed at the April 19 bargaining session were minor minutiae of the contract. They expressed concern that the parties would discuss the more pressing matters, like disciplinary actions, in closed sessions.

"I am grateful that the City has agreed for the first time to make half of the bargaining sessions open to the public. Given the West Linn Police Department's unsavory history, the main concerns for the West Linn Community for Police Reform relate to discipline and accountability," West Linn Community for Police Reform founder Kathy Selvaggio said in an email. "We are concerned that the negotiators will address these sensitive issues in their closed sessions, out of the public eye."

To begin the session, CCPOA attorney and lead negotiator Anil Karia said the union was focusing on officer morale, noting the union's concerns about officer recruiting and retention.

WLPD shouldn't be a step ladder for officers to move to another agency, Karia said.

The CCPOA attorney also said the union wanted a fair, equitable and even-handed accountability system for officers.

One notable contract article briefly discussed at the first session pertained to officers' personnel files.

Steven Schuback, the labor attorney representing the city of West Linn, said he was hoping to strike a section from the contract article on personnel files stating that disciplinary information would not be kept in an officer's file for more than 21 months after the disciplinary action was taken.

Schuback said this proposed change was due to strong public sentiment about police reform. In the coming weeks, the parties will continue discussions about this section of the contract.

Schuback also said he wanted to continue talks about how to handle record keeping throughout the bargaining process.

Of the contract articles for which the parties reached tentative agreements, they did not make any substantial changes to Article 10, Grievance and Arbitration Procedures, or Article 27, Sleep Deprivation and/or Fatigue, merely changing pronouns from "his/her" to "their."

In Article 12, Non-discrimination, the parties made similar changes to gendered language and also struck a section about alleged violations of employment discrimination laws. The parties agreed the section was no longer relevant because of new case law.

The city and CCPOA only changed small details in Article 24, PERS, clarifying that the parties will follow PERS and Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan laws. In Article 6, Dues and Payroll Deductions, the parties clarified procedures for paying union dues.

The next bargaining session will be hosted by CCPOA and closed to the public.

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