For some time now, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, in cooperation with The Spokesman-Review, has attempted to gather support for overturning portions of established labor law as it pertains to arbitration. The Public Employees Relations Commission establishes rules for arbitrators and represents about 350,000-plus Washington state public employees, not just police and deputy sheriffs. Police, deputies and corrections officers are further governed by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, which sets standards for training and certification.
A 14-person board of Knezovich’s peers governs CJTC. Neither PERC nor CJTC has voiced a need to overturn nearly 40 years of established labor law.
What wasn’t presented by the editors or Knezovich is when an arbitrator reinstates a terminated employee it is often because of a flawed or incomplete investigation, mitigating circumstances were not considered, or portions of the bargaining agreement between employees and management were violated, or any combination of those factors.
Under his proposal, Knezovich would prohibit the arbitrator from considering those factors. Rather than obstruct the ability of a neutral, unbiased third party arbitrator to render a fair decision for both sides, maybe it’s time to rein in “King Knezovich” and his disciples at The Spokesman-Review.
Nine Mile Falls