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Connecticut Town Refers Contract to Arbitration for Second Time to Make Point

Thursday, January, 29, 2015

The Vernon, Connecticut Town Council voted for the second time to refer the contract between the town and the school administrators to arbitration in a ploy designed to underscore how “broken” the arbitration process that currently exists is.


The contract is estimated to cost the town more than $250,000 and the majority of the council believes that to be far too high, which was the reason behind sending the contract to arbitration in the first place. The first round of arbitration went entirely in favor of the school administrators and cost the town $25,000 in fees.


The town council would like to be in charge of contracts and salary disputes instead of an arbitrator, believing they have a better understanding of the fiscal needs of the town and the will of the residents. Arbitration is mandatory in contract disputes per State law, but Vernon believes the law is weighted unfairly against poor town such as themselves.


The second round of arbitration does not allow for any new testimony or evidence and will be based solely on a review of the prior arbitration proceeding. Arbitrators granted raises to school administrator the town council feels are completely out of sync with the budget of the town, but the arbitration panel explicitly stated a belief that Vernon was “financially sound” and could support the wage increases.


How a second round of arbitration will help prove the council’s case is not clear.