O'Fallon, MO Police Officers Sue the City of O'Fallon

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Based on recent reports from inside sources, as well as the official Petition for Declaratory Judgement below, O’Fallon police officers have been under tremendous pressure from the city of O’Fallon recently. Reports have told us some are losing around $4000-$5000 in pay while losing all overtime comp time and are being flexed at regular time. They have also had holiday pay taken away from them. Apparently, O’Fallon police officers and the City of O’Fallon have been in negotiations for a couple years, but the city has broken several contract laws over this time period. We cannot confirm any of the above information, BUT they do come from a very trusted source on the inside. We CAN, however, CONFIRM the Petition for Action below.

The official Petition for Declaratory Judgement in question is stated verbatim below:

PETITION FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT
COMES NOW, Plaintiffs, Eastern Missouri Coalition of Police, Fraternal Order of
Police, Lodge 15 and O’Fallon Police Officers Association, by and through counsel, and for their
cause of action against Defendant City of O’Fallon states as follows:
PARTIES
1. Plaintiff, Eastern Missouri Coalition of Police, Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge
15, (“FOP Lodge 15”) is an incorporated organization formed and existing under the laws of the
State of Missouri. 2
2. Plaintiff, O’Fallon Police Officers Association (“OPOA”) is an affiliate of FOP
Lodge 15 comprised of police officers/patrolmen, sergeants, and lieutenants of the City of
O’Fallon Police Department.
3. The FOP Lodge 15 is a labor organization that represents the O’Fallon Police
Department employees in collective bargaining with regard to wages, hours, and other terms and
conditions of employment.
4. Defendant, City of O’Fallon (“the City”) is a charter city incorporated and located
in the State of Missouri. The City operates the O’Fallon Police Department (“the Department”),
which serves as the law enforcement body of the City.
JURISDICTIONAL STATEMENT
5. The Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to §527.010, R.S.Mo.
6. Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to §508.010 R.S.Mo.
COMMON FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS
7. On or about October 21, 2008, the OPOA, through its President at that time,
Douglas Casteel (“Casteel”), sent correspondence to the City detailing the OPOA’s desire for the
patrol division to remain on ten (10) hour shift schedules as well as numerous concerns with the
Department’s consideration of a plan to change the work hours to twelve (12) hour shifts.
8. Also on October 21, 2008, an OPOA meeting was held wherein the topic of
collective bargaining was discussed with the members.
9. Beginning on October 21, 2008, the OPOA began gathering signed FOP Lodge 15
Representation Interest Cards for the purposes of collective bargaining.
10. In October and November 2008, ninety-three (93) police officers and sergeants
employed by the Department signed FOP Lodge 15 Representation Interest Card indicting that 3
these employees supported certification of FOP Lodge 15 as their “exclusive bargaining
representative in collective bargaining” with the City including bargaining with regard to wages,
hours, and working conditions.
11. The police officers and sergeants who signed a Representation Interest Card
evidenced over ninety-five per cent (95%) majority support of the City’s police officers and
sergeants for OPOA to be their exclusive bargaining representative for purposes of collective
bargaining.
12. Based upon the majority of support from the police officers and sergeants to have
the OPOA serve as their bargaining representative for the purposes of collective bargaining, legal
counsel for FOP Lodge 15 and the OPOA sent correspondence on or about November 21, 2008
to Robert Lowry Jr., the then City Administrator, requesting voluntary recognition of the OPOA
as the bargaining representative for the City’s police officers and sergeants and the establishment
of a framework between OPOA and the City. Specifically the letter demanded written
notification of the City’s recognition of FOP Lodge 15 as the exclusive bargaining representative
of the police officers and the process for moving forward with negotiations within fifteen (15)
days.
13. After the City failed to respond within the fifteen (15) days, on or about
December 22, 2008, correspondence was sent to the City’s legal counsel again requesting that
the City comply with FOP Lodge 15’s request for information regarding initiation of the
collective bargaining process.
14. On or about January 2, 2009, the City’s legal counsel sent correspondence
indicating that “there have been a number of organizational issues which have required
immediate attention of the City Administrator.” He also stated that “the City certainly is aware 4
of and understands the constitutional rights that are implicated in this instance and fully intends
to honor and abide by the rights of all individual employees to be represented by a representative
of their choosing for purposes of meeting and conferring with the City.”
15. On or about February 17, 2009, the OPOA requested a status update on the
framework and collective bargaining process via email.
16. On or about March 24, 2009, correspondence was sent to the City requesting that
some form of proposed agreement be forwarded to FOP Lodge 15 for review by April 15, 2009.
17. On or about May 12, 2009, through legal counsel, the OPOA requested a status
update regarding the City’s legal counsel’s meeting with the new City Council and Mayor
concerning collective bargaining.
18. On or about May 19, 2009, the City sent to FOP Lodge 15 a Memorandum
regarding collective bargaining for commissioned police officers and a copy of the City-drafted
framework that was enacted by the City. This framework and memorandum were distributed to
all commissioned police officers that same day.
19. The City’s framework required signed Notice of Representation Designation
forms for individual employees to choose their representative for bargaining with the City.
20. By July 10, 2009, the OPOA had gathered signed Notice of Representation
Designation forms from one hundred percent (100%) of the City’s non-probationary lieutenants,
sergeants and patrolmen stating that the individuals wanted the Plaintiffs to act on his/her behalf
as his/her bargaining representative with the City.
21. On or about August 24, 2009, Casteel received correspondence via email from
Administrative Services Director, John Griesenauer that the City officials “received the officers’5
Notice of Representation Designation forms and are ready to meet with the OPOA.” The City
requested dates and times in order to coordinate a meeting.
22. On or about September 29, 2009, the first collective bargaining meeting was held
and the OPOA explained its priorities to the City.
23. On or about October 7, 2009, Casteel sent a letter to the then Interim City
Administrator, Vicki Boschert (“Boschert”) regarding OPOA goals and concerns with
retirement, medical benefits/retiree medical, and pay and benefits. Specifically, these goals were
to be addressed in working towards a Memorandum of Understanding.
24. On or about October 13, 2009, the second bargaining meeting was held, and the
City provided the OPOA with information on the health plan cuts, but failed to point out the
reduction in coverage from one hundred percent (100%) to ninety percent (90%) for the officers’
health coverage. The OPOA learned that the City Administrator was not relaying information
received through correspondence to the bargaining team. Specifically, the City held a budget
meeting where discussions occurred about freezing step raises, no cost of living increase,
reduction of sick leave buy back, and increasing the employees’ contribution for health
insurance. These issues were not mentioned in the bargaining meeting that was held merely
hours after the City budget meeting.
25. On or about October 15, 2009, Casteel, on behalf of the OPOA, sent
correspondence to Boschert with the OPOA’s concerns regarding good faith bargaining over
mandatory issues of bargaining as a follow up to the bargaining meeting on October 13, 2009.
The correspondence also addressed concerns that many issues would need to be decided by the
City Council, however, there was no representative of that body involved in the meetings to
observe or provide input during collective bargaining discussions. Further, correspondence6
addressed issues with the 2010 budget step increases, sick leave buy back, and LAGERS that the
OPOA wished to negotiate. The OPOA did not receive a response.
26. The City adopted a new Employee Reference Handbook on or about October 22,
2009 which changed the annual sick leave payout for employees. For all eligible employees, the
payout percentage was reduced from one hundred percent (100%) to seventy-five percent (75%).
This change was implemented without agreement with the OPOA during the collective
bargaining process.
27. On or about October 22, 2009, Casteel sent correspondence to Boschert to express
OPOA’s opposition to the proposed pay and benefits package reductions. Specifically, Casteel
requested there be no losses to pay and benefits, which would be considered concessions by the
OPOA, until an agreement could be reached and a Memorandum of Understanding adopted.
28. On or about December 1, 2009, the City named Roy Joachimstaler (“the Chief”)
as Chief of Police for the Department.
29. On or about December 3, 2009 the OPOA requested to receive a formal response
from the City to the correspondence dated October 15, 2009 and October 22, 2009 and addressed
concerns of bad faith bargaining by the City evidenced by the City’s practice of surface
bargaining. The OPOA also requested available dates for the next meet and confer session.
30. On or about December 31, 2009, on behalf of the City, Boschert sent a
memorandum in response to the December 3, 2009 correspondence. The City claimed that the
City Council has the ability at any time to make amendments to the budget as they deem
necessary. Any agreement by the City to monetary proposals must be consistent with the
approved budget. Furthermore, Boschert stated that, “the City Council possesses the legislative
power to prioritize how and where City revenues are expended.” Boschert also denied that the 7
City was bargaining in bad faith. Lastly, Boschert included a LAGERS study, but the City did
not have cost information on post-retiree health benefits.
31. On or about December 31, 2009, more than one year after the OPOA’s request,
the City, through Boschert, provided a framework for future meetings. The City claimed “all
that is required is that the City, through its authorized and designated representatives, must meet,
confer and discuss any proposal that is presented to the City for consideration, ” and the “City
Administrator is vested with the responsibility to direct and supervise the administration of all
departments, offices and agencies of the City.” Furthermore, Boschert stated, “I would hope that
the OPOA would likewise appreciate that the City Administrator has a higher duty than to just be
concerned about the work atmosphere for one group of employees.”
32. Effective in the 2010 budget, changes were made to the City’s health insurance
coverage where the coverage for City employees was reduced from one hundred percent (100%)
to ninety percent (90%). This change was implemented unilaterally during the collective
bargaining process with the OPOA without agreement from the OPOA.
33. On March 15, 2010, the OPOA provided the City with a collective bargaining
contract proposal and a collective bargaining meeting was held.
34. The City provided a meager, four (4) page counter proposal to the OPOA on or
about April 25, 2011 which included the following articles: (1) OPD [Department] Employee
Status and Rights, (2) City Charter and Management Rights, (3) Meet and Confer Committee,
and (4) Miscellaneous Provisions.
35. As part of the 2012 City Budget discussions, in September of 2011, a salary
survey was completed and presented to the City. The “Job Classification and Compensation
Plan for the City of O’Fallon, Missouri” was completed by Condrey and Associates, Inc. 8
Condrey and Associates, Inc. recommended that the City adopt Plan A contained within the
survey.
36. On or about October 18, 2011, FOP Lodge 15 sent correspondence to Jeff
Schwentker, a City Council member, expressing the OPOA’s opposition to the City
Administrator’s recommendation of implementation of a new salary plan that would place
officers in the same system as general employees of the City. The proposed plan would increase
the amount of time required for an officer to reach top salary from ten (10) to sixteen (16) years.
The OPOA requested that the City Administrator withdraw any proposal relating to
compensation for its members until the issues are presented in the collective bargaining arena.
37. In 2011, the City did not implement either plan mentioned in the survey for the
2012 City Budget.
38. In August of 2012, OPOA President, Jacob Knopfel (“Knopfel”) sent
correspondence to Keith Riesberg (“Riesberg”), then City Administrator, regarding the proposed
implementation of Plan B salary proposal from the Condrey and Associates, Inc. survey. The
correspondence requested withdrawal of the proposal from the City until the issues could be
presented during collective bargaining negotiations since salary proposals are mandatory issues
of bargaining.
39. On or about October 1, 2012, Riesberg sent the OPOA a response and expressed
that the City was not acting in bad faith. According to Riesberg, the City’s obligation to
collectively bargain, as a Missouri public employer, was to “‘meet, confer, and discuss’ any issue
that any employee, group of employees, or representative of such employees, including the
OPOA, wishes to have considered and addressed.” The City’s response further stated that “the
City retains its managerial prerogatives to establish, amend, change, delete or modify all terms 9
and conditions of employment for all individuals employed by the City.” Lastly, the response
claimed that the pay plan issues were never raised for discussion during any of the meetings in
2012 involving the City and the OPOA.
40. On or about October 17, 2012, OPOA sent an email to Riesberg and the City
Mayor, Bill Hennessy (“the Mayor”) requesting to meet with them.
41. On or about October 18, 2012, the Mayor responded and encouraged the OPOA
to meet with Riesberg and the Chief to discuss their concerns.
42. On October 19, 2012, the OPOA responded to the Mayor that the Chief and
Riesberg were already aware of the issues at hand and felt that these issues needed to be
discussed with the Mayor.
43. On October 22, 2012 Reisberg responded to the OPOA stating that he and the
Police Chief were the appropriate parties to meet with the OPOA.
44. On December 20, 2012, the OPOA notified the Mayor that it held a vote that
determined that the OPOA members have no confidence in the Chief. The OPOA expressed
concerns regarding personnel and staffing issues, micromanagement, lack of decision-making,
questionable hiring process, questionable disciplinary employee files, and less than truthful
practices of the Chief. Further, the OPOA requested an official response from the City no later
than January 8, 2013 addressing the issues resulting in a vote of no confidence. The OPOA also
mentioned its desire to meet with the City prior to the response.
45. On or about December 28, 2012, the Mayor sent a response stating that the
Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem and City Administrator would represent the City’s position going
forward. The City also requested information regarding the vote total of the no-confidence vote
by December 31, 2012. 10
46. On December 31, 2012, the OPOA responded to the Mayor’s correspondence.
The OPOA had eighty-seven (87) members, and the vote was open to full membership. Of the
ninety percent (90%) of the OPOA who voted, eighty-two percent (82%) voted that they have no
confidence in the Chief. This vote was conducted using a third-party, online secret ballot
system.
47. On or about December 31, 2012, the City submitted a response addressing the
vote of no confidence wherein the City stated that the Chief has the complete and total support of
the Mayor, City Council and City Administrator.
48. For the 2013 City Budget, the City unilaterally implemented Plan B of the
previous year’s salary survey as provided by Condrey and Associates, Inc. The salary
adjustment increased the amount of time required for an officer to reach top salary from ten (10)
to sixteen (16) years. The changes in compensation were effective on the employee’s
anniversary-driven step increase date. The City unilaterally implemented these changes without
agreement from the OPOA during the collective bargaining process. Further, the City has not
provided cost of living adjustments to salaries since 2006.
49. On or about January 8, 2013, City Administrator Riesberg’s employment was
terminated by the City.
50. On or about January 9, 2013, the OPOA requested a thorough and immediate
investigation of the allegations supporting the vote of no confidence against the Chief including
the questionable hiring process in hiring Mr. Adkison, improper promotional processes,
personnel and staffing issues, lack of decision-making, and a meeting of Senior Command Staff
with the City Administrator.11
51. On or about January 15, 2013, through legal counsel, the City responded that it
still intended to meet with the Executive Board of the OPOA regarding the Chief’s performance.
The City also requested the survey questions from the vote.
52. On or about January 25, 2013, the OPOA sent a response to the City’s January 15,
2013 correspondence. In this response, the OPOA declined the Mayor’s invitation to meet with
him, Mayor Pro-Tem, and the City Administrator because they had already presented their
concerns to the City in letters and emails and only the City had the authority to investigate their
concerns. Also addressed in the response, the OPOA, through a previous open records request,
attempted to obtain emails that would support its position that the command staff submitted
written proposals and suggestions to the Chief to streamline work product, improve
personnel/staffing issues, enact more efficient policies, and address department morale. This
previous request was denied and no emails were provided. Furthermore, the response stated that
only one question was asked in the vote of no confidence:
“Do you have confidence in the Chief of Police, Col. Roy Joachimstaler?
A. YES, I have confidence in the Chief of Police
B. NO, I do not have confidence in the Chief of Police”
Also through the response, the OPOA requested that if a meeting was still desired by the City,
that the Chief not be present at the meeting and requested that Council Members Snowden and
Battelle be present as these individuals had prior law enforcement experience.
53. Eventually, on or about March 6, 2013, members of the Executive Board of the
OPOA met with the Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem, and the City Administrator to discuss the issues
previously provided regarding the lack of confidence in the Chief. The City officials stated that
they would be looking into the concerns, but they had confidence in the Chief and his ability to
run the Department. 12
54. On or about March 14, 2013, the City considered the OPOA’s renewed request
from January 9, 2013 regarding no confidence in the Chief.
55. On or about March 19, 2013, the City sent correspondence stating that because
the OPOA originally chose not to meet with the Mayor after submitting its vote of no confidence
and support for that vote, considering the March 6, 2013 meeting, and considering the OPOA’s
renewed request from January 9, 2013 regarding the vote of no confidence, the City decided not
to change its prior decision. The City chose not to perform a formal investigation.
56. On or about April 26, 2013, FOP Lodge 15 submitted a unified collective
bargaining contract proposal to the City for the bargaining unit consisting of police officers,
sergeants, and lieutenants.
57. On May 28, 2013, the City provided Plaintiffs with a counter to the April 26,
2013 contract proposal regarding only the police officers.
58. On May 29, 2013, there was a bargaining session with the OPOA and the City
bargaining teams. There, the City asserted for the first time that the O’Fallon police officers,
sergeants, and lieutenants should not be in the same bargaining unit. Specifically, the City
argued that sergeants and lieutenants serve as supervisory officers and should not be in the same
bargaining unit as their alleged subordinates.
59. Prior to the May 29, 2013 bargaining session and the May 28, 2013 proposal, the
City previously made no attempt to divide or question the make-up of the bargaining unit that
was requested in 2009.
60. Nearly five (5) years had passed before the City decided to take issue with the
already-established bargaining unit that had been previously accepted by the City. 13
61. On or about June 19, 2013, through legal counsel, the OPOA sent a response to
the May 29, 2013 bargaining session stating that because the City has not officially documented
the reasoning or legal standing for its decision to separate the already established bargaining unit,
“the bargaining unit can only assume that the City’s decision is at least arbitrary or is meant to
purposefully ‘divide and conquer’ the bargaining unit and thus neglects good faith in violation of
the tenets of collective bargaining.” The letter described that other Missouri cities have
bargaining units comprised of police officers, sergeants, and lieutenants. Furthermore through
the response, pursuant to the contract proposal submitted by the bargaining unit, there were no
circumstances where the inclusion of the officers, sergeants, and lieutenants would result in a
conflict of interest that would prevent any actions taken against fellow bargaining unit members.
In the response, the OPOA also requested to be informed on how the City planned to proceed
prior to the next bargaining session on July 15, 2013.
62. On or about July 11, 2013, FOP Lodge 15 sent email correspondence to the City
stating that FOP Lodge 15 had yet to receive a complete response to FOP Lodge 15’s contract
proposal which was promised at the bargaining session on May 29, 2013. Also, with less than
five (5) days until the next bargaining session, no response had been given to the June 19, 2013
correspondence from FOP Lodge 15 regarding the same.
63. On or about July 11, 2013, the City’s legal counsel sent email correspondence to
FOP Lodge 15 which stated, “regarding the appropriateness of having sergeants and lieutenants
remain in the same unit with the patrol officers and detectives, the position of the City has not
changed from our last meeting.”
64. On or about July 12, 2013, the City provided Plaintiff with a counter proposal as
previously requested. 14
65. On or about July 15, 2013, there was a collective bargaining session that included
lengthy discussion regarding the City’s handbook and Internal Affairs procedures.
66. In July of 2013, Bonnie Therrien (“Therrien”) was hired by the City as the new
City Administrator, and she began in that position on August 5, 2013.
67. Prior to collective bargaining negotiations in 2013, Knopfel, Matthew Foeller
(“Foeller”), and James Klingler (“Klingler”) were chosen by the bargaining units to represent
them in negotiations with the City. Knopfel, Foeller, and Klingler all serve as elected executive
board members of the OPOA and were chosen as the specific individuals to attend collective
bargaining sessions on behalf of the police officers, sergeants, and lieutenants.
68. In October of 2013, Foeller was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in the
Department.
69. After a collective bargaining session was held on November 14, 2013, on
November 15, 2013, at the request of Therrien and the City, the OPOA sent email
correspondence indicating the top ten issues the OPOA wanted to address through collective
bargaining including LAGERS (retirement) improvement, retirement medical improvement,
return to old pay matrix with competitive wages, internal affairs protection and procedures,
health insurance (lower deductible, co-pay, and RSC membership), vacation (additional week
after twenty (20) years of service), ten hour days, cost of living adjustment, longevity
recognition, and dispatch.
70. On or about November 21, 2013, Plaintiff submitted two (2) counter proposals to
the City. One counter proposal was for the police officers while the other counter proposals
involved the sergeants and lieutenants. 15
71. On or about November 22, 2013 a collective bargaining session was scheduled for
the parties. Once there, the City asserted that the representatives chosen by the O’Fallon police
officers were not appropriate for the bargaining unit. Specifically, the City argued that because
Foeller was promoted to the rank of sergeant in the middle of bargaining negotiations with the
police officers that he could no longer negotiate on behalf of a unit that he could not be a
member of. The City would not allow negotiations with the sergeants and lieutenants to
commence with all of the chosen representatives present: Sergeant Foeller as well as Patrolmen
Knopfel and Klingler. Due to the assertions of the City, Plaintiffs decided to discontinue the
bargaining session since the City would not bargain with the representatives chosen by the
Plaintiffs’ members. Plaintiffs left the bargaining session with the City.
72. Beginning with the very first meeting with the City on September 29, 2009, all of
the bargaining team members were sergeants: Casteel, Mike Plum, and Jeff Lange. The City had
previously allowed sergeants to be representatives of the OPOA for five (5) years without any
opposition.
73. On or about December 11, 2013, the OPOA held a membership meeting wherein
the members unanimously supported to have Foeller, Knopfel and Klingler remain as the
bargaining team members for all of the police officers, sergeants, and lieutenants. There was
also a unanimous vote to pursue any and all legal remedies available if the City chose to continue
to disallow the presence of all of the bargaining representatives chosen by the OPOA at future
bargaining sessions.
74. On or about December 12, 2013, through legal counsel, the OPOA requested a
response regarding the City’s position on collective bargaining representatives prior to January 1,
2014.16
75. On or about December 17, 2013 the City changed its policies on Internet, E-mail,
Computer, Cell Phone, and Social Media Usage Policy and Agreement. These unilateral
revisions were made when the parties were actively engaged in collective bargaining. Changes
to these policies were done without negotiations with or any prior notice to Plaintiffs.
76. On or about December 20, 2013, the City implemented a new light duty policy:
“Light Duty Assignments.” During the collective bargaining process, the City implemented the
changes that light duty durations would be limited and that employees may be placed at a lower
rate of pay than the position they held when they sustained their injury or illness. The City
effected the revisions without bargaining with Plaintiffs prior to the execution of the changes.
77. On or about December 23, 2013, the City sent a response to the December 12,
2013 correspondence. The City stated that it would allow Sergeant Foeller to assist the OPOA
only in its discussion regarding the police officers until December 31, 2014. The City stated that
the “discussion with the City regarding the terms of any MOU for Sergeants or Lieutenants have
not commenced in substance” and opined that as for Klingler and Knopfel representing the
sergeants and lieutenants, the City was willing to allow them to participate in discussions with
the City for six (6) months, through and including June 30, 2014. If discussions were not
complete by June 30, 2014, the City asked that the OPOA appoint different members to its
collective bargaining team.
78. On or about December 30, 2013, FOP Lodge 15 sent email correspondence to the
City stating that the OPOA had decided to continue with collective bargaining sessions with the
City regarding police officers, sergeants, and lieutenants. Meeting dates were requested from the
City for both the police officers and the sergeants and lieutenants so collective bargaining
sessions could “resume/ begin without delay.”17
79. On January 1, 2014 the City changed its policy regarding sick time buy back for
newly hired employees. The new policy mandated that employees hired after January 1, 2014
were not entitled to payment for annual unused sick leave accumulated beyond four hundred
eighty (480) hours. Under the new policy, employees hired after January 1, 2014 were also not
eligible for leave payout at retirement. These changes were made during the collective
bargaining process without notice to or agreement from Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs did not become
aware of these changes until the City sent a collective bargaining counter proposal on March 25,
2014 and during a collective bargaining session with the City on March 26, 2014.
80. On or about January 28, 2014, a collective bargaining session was held. Plaintiffs
discussed their “Top 10” list at the request of the City. Plaintiffs’ most important issues
included: (1) retirement, (2) health insurance for retirees, (3) reverting back to the old pay plan,
(4) internal investigations procedures, (5) health insurance co-payments, (6) vacations, (7)
keeping the current schedule of ten hour shifts, (8) cost of living adjustment, (9) longevity, and
(10) dispatch issues. Plaintiffs had major concerns over changes during the bargaining process
over changes to retiree healthcare, the pay plan, employee health insurance, and the light duty
policy. The City opined that the City Council did not want to allow the OPOA to decide what
shift schedule the Department used arguing that scheduling was a management right that should
not be included in a collective bargaining agreement. The City further stated, through the Chief,
that it wanted to keep bargaining separate between the officers and the sergeants and lieutenants.
It wanted to finish bargaining with the officers prior to bargaining with the sergeants and
lieutenants. Plaintiffs voiced concerns to both of the City’s contentions and discussions were
had regarding same. 18
81. On or about February 18, 2014, the OPOA provided to the City its concerns on
the City’s collective bargaining proposals including its light duty policy, pay proposal, longevity,
and IA procedures. As mentioned during the previous bargaining session, one of the OPOA’s
major concerns with the proposals was that the City unilaterally changed the light duty policy
and pay plan without bargaining over the changes. (At this point, the OPOA was unaware that
sick time payout policy for new employees had already been changed as well.)
82. On or about March 25, 2014, the City provided a counter proposal to the Plaintiffs
which included language restricting accumulated leave payout for retirees to only those
employees hired prior to January 1, 2014.
83. On March 26, 2014 a collective bargaining session was held wherein the City’s
top ten (10) priorities were discussed. At this meeting, the City also informed the OPOA of its
change for annual payout of unused sick leave to only apply to employees hired before January
1, 2014.
84. On or about April 28, 2014, Plaintiffs sent the City a bargaining proposal which
contained provisions for a 457/401(a) retirement plan.
85. On or about April 29, 2014, a collective bargaining session was held. At this
meeting, Therrien stated that she was vehemently opposed to including any provisions regarding
Internal Affairs in a collective bargaining agreement even if agreed to by both bargaining parties.
She contented that IA procedures were a management right, whereas Plaintiffs asserted that since
IA procedures involved discipline, it was a topic that should be discussed and subsequently
included in a collective bargaining agreement.
86. On or about May 14, 2014, a collective bargaining session was scheduled. Jeff
Cook, a sergeant and former OPOA bargaining team member, attended the meeting on behalf of 19
the OPOA. The City expressed disappointment over Cook’s involvement since he was a
sergeant and that he was allegedly added to the bargaining team in the middle of the bargaining
process. Cook had previously been an active member of the bargaining team prior to 2013. The
meeting was ended due to Cook’s involvement.
87. In May of 2014, the City changed the Compensatory Time Agreement during
collective bargaining negotiations without negotiating the changes prior to implementation.
Human Resources instructed several new employees to sign a “Compensatory Time Agreement”
which stated that the employee would “voluntarily agree to accept compensatory time in lieu of a
cash payment for overtime.” This process was later discontinued by HR.
88. On or about June 12, 2014, there was a collective bargaining meeting. When the
subject of ten (10) hour shifts was discussed, the OPOA expressed their opposition and
disappointment that numerous subjects of bargaining had been changed and/or taken from them
during collective bargaining and that maintaining ten (10) hour shifts was very important. The
OPOA proposed that if the City would ensure a ten (10) hour shift schedule for the duration of
the agreement, the OPOA would be willing to concede to the City’s language regarding holidays
and holiday pay. Therrien stated that the longer bargaining takes, “the more they [the City
Council] take.”
89. On or about June 22, 2014, Gene DeLaney, an OPOA Executive Board Member
and bargaining team member, sent an email to Boschert, the Finance Director, requesting
numerous City financial figures and numbers regarding the cost of the proposed 457/401(a) Plan.
90. On or about June 24, 2014, the OPOA proposed revisions regarding Internal
Affairs process as well as agreement renewal procedures. 20
91. On or about July 1, 2014, a collective bargaining session was held wherein
Internal Affairs procedures were discussed. The City stated that in the new IA directive to be
adopted, they would be willing to include language for providing a generalized reason for
keeping an investigation open to someone in an on-going investigation.
92. On or about August 7, 2014, Boschert sent to Elected Officials through email, the
potential City loss of revenue due to proposed tax exemptions passed in the Missouri legislature.
93. On or about September 8, 2014, a collective bargaining session was held where
the City, for the first time at a bargaining session, proposed a change to twelve (12) hour shifts.
Prior to this session, during a bargaining meeting, the City had not mentioned a specific desire to
change the shift schedules of bargaining unit members from ten (10) hour shifts and had not
objected to the current schedule. At previous meetings and in prior counter proposals, the City
had only mentioned that it desired to have the ability to change schedules during the term of an
agreement. At the meeting, the City shared its presentation regarding twelve (12) hour schedules
without any negotiation of the topic with FOP Lodge 15 through the collective bargaining
process. The Chief and Therrien affirmed that the City would be unilaterally implementing
twelve (12) hour shifts on the Department regardless of the OPOA’s desire to maintain ten (10)
hour shifts.
94. On September 17, 2014, the OPOA sent the City a list of questions and concerns
regarding the twelve (12) hour shift proposal for the City to consider regarding the change in
schedules.
95. On or about September 19, 2014, through legal counsel, the OPOA sent
correspondence stating that although the bargaining unit prefers ten (10) hour shifts, the 21
bargaining unit was willing to collectively bargain over twelve (12) hour shifts if the following
conditions could be met:
a. Holiday pay remains as it currently is;
b. All current benefits remain as they are;
c. Adoption of matching 457 (401(a)) retirement benefits;
d. Shift differential for employees who work the overnight shift;
e. Reinstate sick time buy back for all police department employees for 100%;
and
f. All contract negotiations including twelve (12) hour shift rotation schedules are
completed and in place by January 1, 2015.
The OPOA’s correspondence further requested information that was previously promised
including health care insurance information for coming year and follow up financial information
from Boschert.
96. On or about September 22, 2014, a collective bargaining session was held
wherein the conditions put forth by the OPOA in the September 19, 2014 correspondence were
discussed. Therrien stated that the OPOA’s requests to reinstate sick time buy back and to keep
benefits as they currently were would “never” be approved. The OPOA continued to question
what the City was willing to concede in order to switch to twelve hour shifts. Therrien stated
that she would be willing to submit the proposals of shift differentials and matching 457 (401(a))
retirement plan to the Council.
97. On or about October 14, 2014, another collective bargaining meeting was held.
The City reiterated that it was unwilling to guarantee to keep the medical benefits as they were
and unwilling to reinstate the sick time buyback. The City further announced that it was
changing holiday pay going forward. The City stated that holiday pay would be paid out as is 22
but would not count as hours worked for overtime purposes. Also holiday pay would not be paid
at time and a half unless it was actually worked. The City determined that this new policy would
take effect with the twelve hour schedules and new overtime provisions on January 10, 2015.
The OPOA opined that the proposed change would result in a substantial economic loss to its
members. Further, the latest proposal and intended unilateral implementation provided another
example of something else being changed and a benefit being taken away in the middle of the
collective bargaining process without agreement from the OPOA.
98. On or about November 3, 2014, a collective bargaining session was held wherein
the OPOA again asked what the City was offering in order for the OPOA to agree to a change to
twelve hour shifts.
99. On November 17, 2014, the Department enacted a new directive regarding
Internal Affair procedures: Police Directive 21.1. The new directive did not address all of the
issues that were discussed and agreed to by the parties previously in collective bargaining
negotiations. In prior negotiations, the parties had agreed that if the command staff sent an IA
investigation back to the original IA investigator, it would have a memo detailing why the
investigation was deficit, and that memo, along with original findings submitted to Chief, would
be included in the employee’s IA file. Also, the parties agreed that if an IA investigation was to
be kept open, the employee would be provided with a generalized reason of why it would be kept
open. Neither of these issues was addressed in Police Directive 21.1.
100. On December 9, 2014, a collective bargaining session was held. The City’s plan
for twelve hour shifts was discussed, and the OPOA requested to be provided with the standard
operating procedures regarding the twelve hour shifts. The City stated that a procedure had been
sent to all of the officers. The City, however, had only disseminated the twelve hour shift 23
schedule and had not provided details of the schedule such as training or the handling of
overtime. The City did not understand why the OPOA would want to discuss the specifics when
it had not provided input previously. The OPOA stated that it was not trying to be involved in
every detail of the new schedule, but it wanted to ensure that the City had procedures in place to
address issues that would arise. The OPOA had provided questions and concerns to the City
regarding the twelve hour shift proposal on September 17, 2014 and had not received any
response. During the meeting, the City also discussed its proposal to change overtime. The
current overtime provisions provided for time and one half to be paid after eighty (80) hours per
fourteen (14) day period. The City adamantly proposed that officers would not be paid overtime
until they worked one hundred seventy-one (171) hours during the new twenty-eight (28) day
work period. The OPOA again proposed overtime pay after eighty (80) hours in a fourteen (14)
day period. Sick time payout provisions were also discussed. Also, the City was again
unyielding in its desire to control certain terms and conditions of employment during the term of
the agreement including: hours of work, holiday pay, payments for unused sick leave for current
and/or retired employees, vacation accrual schedule, payment of overtime, and retiree health
insurance. Further, the OPOA again requested financial data that had been asked for numerous
times from the City’s Finance Director.
101. On or about December 23, 2014, the OPOA sent the City a counter proposal
which included numerous proposals as discussed at the December 9, 2014 meeting. The counter
proposal provided for twelve hour shifts with overtime to be paid after eighty (80) hours in a
fourteen (14) day period. It deleted the City’s language of limiting payment for unused sick
leave for retirees to only those hired before January 1, 2014. The counter proposal included a
two and one half percent (2.5%) salary increase which was to compensate effected employees for 24
money lost due to the City’s proposed holiday pay changes. The counter proposal did not
include provisions on the 457/401(a) retirement plan. In response to the City’s desire to maintain
control over certain terms and conditions of employment during the bargaining process including
hours of work, holiday pay, payments for unused sick leave for current and/or retired employees,
vacation accrual schedule, payment of overtime, and retiree health insurance, the OPOA
provided compromise language that would allow for collective bargaining with the OPOA over
said items during the term of the agreement with the caveat that the proposed language “shall not
be construed to prevent the City from taking whatever action is necessary in order to accomplish
its mission.”
102. Plaintiffs did not receive any counter proposal or official response to the OPOA’s
last counter proposal.
103. On January 9, 2015, City Administrator Therrien distributed a memorandum to
the police officers detailing the schedule change unilaterally implemented by the City to take
effect on January 10, 2015. The City’s change from a ten (10) hour shift schedule to a twelve
(12) hour schedule included changing the overtime provisions to only providing for overtime
payment after one hundred seventy-one (171) hours during the new twenty-eight (28) day work
period. The holiday pay was also changed so that the hours paid to all employees for holidays do
not count as time worked for overtime purposes. The memo stated that “all overtime and comp
time earned will be mitigated whenever possible” thus reducing employees’ access to overtime
and overtime pay while making scheduling difficult on employees and supervisors.
104. Plaintiffs did not agree to any of the changes unilaterally imposed by the City on
January 10, 2015. 25
105. Throughout collective bargaining negotiations, the City has insisted on the
inclusion of language that allowed the City to change, amend, or modify elements of a collective
bargaining agreement during the term of the agreement. The Plaintiffs continually asserted that
the inclusion of the City’s provisions did not represent a contractual agreement given that one
side would be able to unilaterally change the elements of the agreement during its term.
106. Defendant City has a well-documented history of a lack of any meaningful
attempt at collective bargaining with the intent of reaching an agreement with the OPOA
evidenced by its unilateral implementation of changes in policy throughout the collective
bargaining process; refusal to collectively bargain over the sergeants and lieutenants proposals;
and frustration of the collective bargaining process including hindering Plaintiffs’ ability to
choose their own bargaining representatives and uncompromising opposition to bargaining over
certain subjects.
107. Pursuant to Missouri law, City’s employees have the constitutional “right to
organize and bargain collectively through representative of their own choosing” according to
Article I, Section 29 of the Missouri Constitution and the Missouri Supreme Court’s mandate in
Independence-Nat’l Educ. Ass’n v. Independence Sch. Dist., 223 S.W.3d 131 (Mo. banc 2007).
108. The Missouri Supreme Court expanded on its decision from Independence in
American Fed’n of Teachers v. Ledbetter, 387 S.W.3d 360 (Mo. banc 2012) holding that
collective bargaining imposes a duty of the parties to negotiate in good faith with the intent of
reaching an agreement. Id. at 362, 364. The Court stated:
Parties act in “good faith” when they act “without simulation or pretense, innocently and
in an attitude of trust and confidence.” Those parties act “honestly, openly, sincerely,
without deceit, covin, or any form of fraud.” Consequently, the course of a negotiation
between parties acting in good faith should reflect that both parties sincerely undertook to
reach an agreement.26
Id. at 367 (internal citations omitted).
109. Based on the above, Defendant City has failed to collectively bargain in good
faith and such refusal is a clear violation of Missouri law.
110. The OPOA has exerted all possible efforts to work with Defendant City to utilize
the collective bargaining process, yet Defendant City has implemented numerous changes to
policies, wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment during the collective bargaining
process without negotiating or collectively bargaining with the OPOA or without reaching an
agreement on said topics with the OPOA.
111. The City has violated the mandate set forth by the Missouri Supreme Court in
Independence and its progeny requiring public employers to bargain in good faith with the intent
to reach an agreement with the representatives chosen by their employees.
COUNT I
DECLARATORY JUDGMENT UNDER SECTION 527 RSMO. et seq.
COMES NOW Plaintiffs, by and through counsel, and for Count I of this Petition, state
as follows:
112. Plaintiffs hereby adopt and incorporate by reference, as if more fully set forth
herein, paragraphs 1-111, as paragraph 112 of Count I of this Petition.
113. Plaintiffs FOP Lodge 15 and OPOA have associational standing in the
representation of their members’ constitutional rights.
114. The collective bargaining process, pursuant to Independence and its progeny,
requires bargaining in good faith defined as bargaining with the intent to reach an agreement.
115. Pursuant to Article I, Section 29 of the Missouri Constitution, the City’s police
officers, sergeants, and lieutenants have the right to bargain through representatives of their own 27
choosing and the City’s refusal to bargain with those representatives violates the constitutional
rights of Plaintiffs’ members.
116. The City’s consistent unilateral implementation of changes and policies during the
collective bargaining process without negotiation or collectively bargaining over the revisions
with the OPOA has resulted in violations of the constitutional rights of Plaintiffs’ members.
117. The City’s failure to bargain with the representatives chosen by the City’s
sergeants and lieutenants has resulted in violations of the constitutional rights of Plaintiffs’
members.
118. The City’s rejection of the presence of Plaintiffs’ choice of bargaining
representatives at collective bargaining meetings has resulted in violations of the constitutional
rights of Plaintiffs’ members.
119. The City’s insistence on language that allows the City to change, amend, or
modify elements of a collective bargaining agreement during the term of an agreement has
resulted in violations of the constitutional rights of Plaintiffs’ members.
120. The City’s refusal to bargain over certain subjects of bargaining regarding City
employees’ wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment has resulted in violations of
the constitutional rights of Plaintiffs’ members.
121. A controversy exists between the parties as to the matters stated herein and there
is no other adequate remedy at law.
122. FOP Lodge 15, OPOA and the City’s police officers, sergeants, and lieutenants
have a legally protectable interest in Defendant City meeting its obligations under the Missouri
Constitution and mandate stated in American Federation of Teachers to bargain in good faith. 28
123. By reason of the foregoing, a Declaratory Judgment under §527.010 RSMo. is
both necessary and proper in order to determine the rights, obligations and liabilities that exist
among the parties.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs request that this Court grant the following relief: (1) Issue a
declaratory judgment that Defendant has violated Plaintiffs’ members rights guaranteed by
Article I, Section 29 of the Missouri Constitution; (2) Order Defendant to immediately
collectively bargain in good faith with Plaintiffs as the representative chosen by its police
officers, sergeants, and lieutenants with regard to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions
or employment; (3) Appoint a special master to preside over the collective bargaining process;
(4) Order that Defendant pay Plaintiffs’ reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees associated with the
action herein; (5) Order Defendant to immediately rescind any and all policies and changes of
the wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment for Plaintiffs that were instituted
during collective bargaining since October of 2008; and (6) Award such further relief as this
Court deems just and proper.
Respectfully submitted,
By: _______________________________
GREGORY KLOEPPEL, #47909
DANIELLE THOMPSON, #61688
Attorneys for Plaintiffs
9620 Lackland Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63114
Phone: (314) 423-8003
Fax: (314) 423-8054
greg.kloeppel@mofop15.org
danielle.thompson@mofop15.org

 

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