The city of Urbana, Illinois recently passed a resolution in support of reforming the binding arbitration process in the state. It specifically addressed public safety employees.
According the Mayor Laurel Prussing, the resolution does not change anything for the city, but shows Urbana is taking a stand regarding the issue. The mayor is in support of collective bargaining, but there needs to be something in place to ensure the process is fair to everyone involved. The latest resolution requests the state legislature consider a variety of suggestions, including:
Giving an arbitrator the opportunity to choose an intermediate position during a ruling
Allowing an arbitrator to not base settlements on the costs of what other governments have paid
Removing the power of an arbitrator to overturn a decision to terminate police or fire fighters for due cause, with the exception of a chief that overstepped his or her authority.
According to Mayor Prussing, the power of the arbitrator needs to be limited, and the police or fire chief, when not the subject of the termination, should be given final word.
The changes are indirectly related to a case of binding arbitration in Champaign, IL where an officer is accused of using excessive force. Following an incident, an officer was able to maintain his job because of an arbitration ruling. The settlements against the officer have cost tax payers thousands of dollars. The mayor of Urbana is hoping other governments will adopt their resolutions and there will be improvements throughout the entire state regarding arbitration processes.