Fire arbitration update

Today, lawyers for City Hall and Stockton Professional Firefighters are meeting downtown for the third round of arbitration proceedings before Napa arbitrator Alexander Cohn in room 169 of the downtown Stewart-Eberhardt building.

I stopped by, but the hearing was closed to the public after a bit of discussion. A little background, though:

Arbitration hearings in the fire union vs. City Hall labor dispute (this is related to the city-imposed budget-cutting measures taken in June, not Measure H) began in late September. After the second hearing earlier this month, I asked both sides and open government advocates whether these were public hearings and did not get a conclusive answer. The union’s labor agreement, which spells out the terms of this type of arbitration, doesn’t say whether the hearings are open or closed. The city charter, which governs a different kind of fire union arbitration, says hearings are to be open to the public.

This morning, I asked Cohn, the arbitrator, if the hearing was open. He said he leaves it up to the two sides.

After a few minutes, Christopher Platten, the lawyer for the fire union, and Art Hartinger, the city’s outside lawyer, came out to the hallway and told me they were still discussing the matter. Platten said he was fine with opening up the hearing. Hartinger said the city wasn’t prepared to open it, however, because the previous two hearings had not been opened. (One note: the city this week issued, for the first time during this arbitration process, a lengthy news release on today’s meeting.)

A few minutes later, city Human Resources Director Dianna Garcia came out and told me the hearing was closed. She apologized and politely escorted me out of the building, and said she expected the city to issue a summary news release on today’s proceedings.

This entry was posted in Budget crisis, City Hall, Fire Department, Labor, Stockton Professional Firefighters Local 456. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

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