Sheriff at the Center of Las Vegas Metro Police Arbitration Hearing
Tuesday, October, 29, 2013
In a presentation to the Las Vegas Metro’s Fiscal Affairs Committee, Sheriff Douglas Gillespie set a conciliatory tone in his approach to a heated debate over the recent arbitration ruling that will end up costing the department $6.9 million. In the meeting, Sheriff Gillespie admitted that the arbitration process did lack transparency and that he should have avoided taking criticisms about it so personally. However, he stood by the argument that the arbitration case was handled legally and that the arbitrator’s ruling in favor of living and wage increases for police officer was a fair one.
According to Gillespie, “I still and will defend my organization’s participation in the process, but I should not have responded personally. Part of my job is to work with elected officials in this valley. By handling the matter in the way I did, it is clear to me today that I’m creating more problems than I solved.”
The debate began when Commissioner Steve Sisolak, a member of the city’s Fiscal Affairs Committee overseeing Metro’s budget, voiced his concern that Nevada State law was not fully upheld and considered in the arbitrator’s ruling granting a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase to the officers over a span of two years and an increase in the department’s annual health plan contribution of $1,154 for all LVPPA members.
Gillespie also admitted that his claim that the arbitration process was one that was “set in stone” might have been wrong, as well. “I have publicly spoken that this process is etched in stone, I have found that not to be the case,” Gillespie said. “What I’ve found is that an arbitrator has a lot of flexibility in how the hearing is run and the ground rules that are set.”