Union for Albion police faults mayor for ‘ill-fated attack’ in breaching contract with officers

Posted 30 December 2022 at 8:40 am

Press Release, Albion Police Benevolent Association

ALBION – Now that the dust has settled there is one thing that is apparent to the Village of Albion taxpayers. Mayor Angel Javier Jr.’s ill-conceived escapade of attacking the Village of Albion police officers has needlessly cost the Village taxpayers over $38,000!

More than $16,000 for the report from the Bonadio Group.

More than $15,000 to make the members of the Albion Police Department whole.

$7,500 for the police officers’ attorneys.

And who knows how many tens of thousands of dollars the Village wasted on its outside counsel?

When the Mayor first took office in April 2022, he set off on an ill-fated attack on the Albion police officers. The Mayor’s actions were based upon ignorance which was subsequently compounded by incompetence.

Completely unaware of the laws that govern labor relations between the Village and the Police Union, Mayor Javier breached the contract between the Village and the Police Union.

Luckily, back in June 2022, a majority of the Village Board voted to reinstate the correct pay rate. Unfortunately, that was only a temporary stay, which forced the Police Union to file a grievance against the Village.

Following the Village’s breach, the Police Union met with the Village and presented a 28-page Power Point Presentation detailing why the Village was wrong and that the correct pay rate needed to be reinstated. That presentation contained the contract language, the parties’ unequivocal practice of over 160 payroll periods evidencing the correct pay rate used by the parties; Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) decisions, a New York State Comptroller opinion, New York State case law and reasons why the Bonadio report was based upon the wrong assumption.

The Village did not listen.

Following that meeting, the Village compounded its ignorance by incompetence. Rather than swiftly settling the grievance the Village dragged its feet. The Village’s incompetence forced the Police Union to file an Improper Practice charge before PERB.

One has to question if the Village’s delay was an intentional tactic of its representatives as it only increased legal fees the Village had to pay its attorney and the Police Union had to pay to defend against the Village’s breach of contract.

The Mayor’s actions also raised issues the Police Union would never have brought up. Further investigation resulted in the Police Union asserting Fair Labor and Standards Act violations.  The Police Union’s investigation revealed that its members were owed over $714,000!

However, rather than pressing ahead with litigation, the Police Union sought to reduce the Village’s liability and started settlement discussions with the Village. Rather than quickly resolving the issues, the Village delayed, delayed, and delayed. The Village had to capitulate on every issue. With no other avenue but settlement, the Village vindictively added to the police officers’ frustration by delaying the settlement.

This was a story of ignorance, compounded by incompetence. The Mayor’s ignorance of the police officer’s correct pay rate was compounded by the incompetence in the manner in which the Village handled this dispute.

On a daily basis Village of Albion police officers serve and protect village residents.

Now, in the end, it is as it always was. The police officers looked out for the village residents.  When presented with a possible cost to the village residents of almost three quarters of a million dollars, the Police Union resolved the issues just to make sure they were paid correctly.  Unfortunately, there was nothing the Police Union could do to save village residents from the Mayor wasting over $38,000 due to his own ignorance.