As you may be aware, it has been a hectic couple of weeks in the EdPDLaw Camp. Have you ever received those responses to Grievances that just leave you completely dumbfounded? I want to take a moment to look at 2 that were penned by Administrators with 25 years of experience. I'm not going to use any names because I am still not sure that these are not jokes.
The 1st is addressed to a PBA President from a top Administrator and here is the content only:
Dear PBA President:
For quite some time, you have on many occasions processed grievances through your local’s grievance procedure without providing a sufficient basis for (Department Omitted) representatives to process, investigate and evaluate the merits of same within time limitations of the contract. This has, on many occasions, resulted in an inability to resolve differences of opinion or grievances at the lowest possible level of the grievance procedure which, I am sure you would agree, is the appropriate thing to do in order to foster better labor relations and harmony within the workplace. You have been requested by administrative representatives to do so, but you have consistently failed to state the nature of your grievance with any degree of specificity, leaving it to management to guess at what you might be questioning. You have, moreover, failed in many instances to initiate your grievances at the appropriate level of the grievance process. This has fostered in some a degree of consternation as to what you might be seeking: resolution of dispute or fomentation or exacerbation of workplace tension.
As you know, the (Department Omitted) and your local have utilized a particular format for processing grievances. This format provides an ability to identify the grievants, the contractual provisions involved, the dates upon which actions or inactions may have occurred and the specific bases of the alleged infraction and relief requested. You have not been utilizing this form, which has served the parties well. We suggest that all of your grievances utilize this form and that you attach documentation to aid the (Department Omitted) and your unit members in a search for resolution.
Finally, as you know, I have delegated to (Name Omitted) the overall responsibility for grievance resolution and disciplinary action. However, you continue to ignore my delegation of this responsibility to (Name Omitted). I can only interpret this in a negative light. It delays and frustrates the resolution of grievances, which, in my opinion, is detrimental to the process and may lead some to believe that you have difficulty in interacting with the (Name Omitted).
I propose that we meet to formally resolve through written agreement precise, concrete and definitive grievance procedures to end the type of “gaming” that your unit members do not deserve.
It just baffles me that this particular Administration has placed the responsibility for identifying and investigating the merits of Grievances on the local itself. I thought that was the supervisor's responsibility? Internal Affairs? And shouldn't the merits of a grievance be decided PRIOR to bringing charges against a member?
It is the Administration that lodges the charges against the members. They make the member write up reports of what occurred. They make every witness within the vicinity of what occurred write a report and then they pull any video of the incident. The supervisor then (I would hope) conducts interviews and actually VIEWS the video, After all that is complete, the supervisor writes a report enumerating all the charges they are recommending against the officer. The charges are typed up and served on the member, usually personally or by Internal Affairs. By the time the process is complete there is no one in the building that does not know what the Grievance is about. No one that is, except the author of the above diatribe that clearly was not written "to" the PBA President but to everyone that was copied on it who must not know what the Grievance Procedure is.
A Grievance of course would contain those one or two pieces of evidence that disproves the need for those above charges, the information that the Administration does not want anyone else to see or know about, which usually comes out later at Court if its not caught at the Administrative Hearing.
When it comes to Contractual Issues, changes in Rules, Regulations or Policy, the Administration is contractually obligated to run it by the Union PRIOR to implementing it so that it can be discussed and resolved at the lowest level without the need for a Grievance.
The last line is my favorite "I propose we meet to formally resolve through written agreement, concrete and definitive grievance procedures.......
What were we doing during Contract Negotiations? And what exactly is the purpose of that Article in our Contract Titled "Grievance Procedure"?
It really does not matter anyway because every time this particular PBA President tries to schedule a meeting with this Administrator he is never available........
Here is the 2nd One:
The background is that they held an Administrative Hearing on charges and refused to release the charged officer to attend his own hearing.
The response from an Administrator with 25 years on the job is:
Please be more specific upon the issue of which this grievance rests and the article of the contract you believe is being violated.
The right to be present at your own hearing is a due process, 14th Amendment Right founded in our Constitution. You have that right if you are an American Citizen. After being in this industry for 25 years, no one should have to explain that to an Administrator. Wow!!
Again, its clear that the 1st response was written for those copied on it as it made no sense at all and the 2nd response was probably written for the same audience. Clearly neither Administrator knows what they are doing and are causing more problems for themselves because eventually, those copied on this stuff are going to figure it out and not appreciate the fact that these Administrators truly believe their readers to be that naive.
Just a little light humor to start the day. All suggested responses to these 2 Grievance Responses can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org