Excessive Discipline Protection Database

Developed by a Police Officer Exclusively for Law Enforcement

EdPDLaw Logo
LEO Case Law Library
PRINT A UNION POSTER
HOME ARTICLES MISSION THE TEAM DATABASE CONTACT
To Protect and Serve
EdPDLAW PROGRAM
OFFICER DISCIPLINE
LEO CASELAW
UNION TOOLS
CUMBERLAND COUNTY
ESSEX COUNTY
HUDSON COUNTY
DELANEY HALL
ACA ACCREDITATION

EdPDLaw Editorial
June 17, 2017

DESPITE CIVIL SERVICE RULING - COUNTY REMAINS DEFIANT - ALL SUPERVISORS DEMOTED
 

Despite receiving the Civil Service ruling on June 12, 2017, the County is still showing the 7 supervisors in their positions of Lt. and Captain as of yesterday.  Several employees attended the meeting on June 7, 2017 and learned of the decision.  Civil Service was reading the decision to those who called and inquired. Employee profiles received and dated June 16, 2017 from the Personnel Department show no adjustments to the affected officers promotions or rate of pay.  The date and time the reports were printed appear on the bottom of the reports which were printed out on June 16, 2017 at 9:38 am. It appears that the current feud between these Departments has stopped the flow of information.  Or, the County is just being defiant again as usual.  They will probably wait for those hefty fines from Civil Service before taking any action.  $1000 a day per employee is going to add up fast.  

The Decision - Congratulations Helen Ford - It's Your Birthday Again - You are getting Old!

Congratulations to Helen Ford who is the clear victor in the decision.  Despite the County's offer to promote Maria Gaines, Luis Oyola and Robert Kalb retro-actively, with backpay, which would increase their pensions....Civil Service has denied the request stating that they would not have completed the required one year time in grade to become permanent in the new position before retirement.  Of course, this is the central issue of this mess.  

Civil Service also stated that together with the requisite time requirements, there would be no employee performance evaluations to sidestep that requirement.  Really Civil Service? This is Hudson County, they don't do employee evaluations unless they are facing an audit or a lawsuit, and even then they make the employees sign a slip stating they received training they never received to complete the evaluation.  

Can you imagine the evaluation?

  • Brings the administration coffee every morning.
  • Disciplines the employees we target for stupid stuff they never did and can't be proven so we can terminate them.
  • Is loyal to the point of violating everyone's rights, is willing to lie under oath and will even commit a crime.

You get the point.

Sgt. Helen Ford asked Civil Service to be promoted retro-actively with backpay.  Civil Service stated that if she is promoted to the position of Lieutenant from the current list and completes her one year time in grade, she can petition for retroactive status and backpay.  She is going to be at retirement age soon with all these birthdays she has been having.

The County offered to keep Captain Geohagen permanent and make Captains Conrad and Yurecko provisional.  They had little concern about the Lieutenants and made no offers that would allow them to keep their positions.

The County Personnel Department has also stated that there is no current certification list for the positions of Lt. and Captain. We are waiting for the new promotional list to come out and to hear back from Civil Service.

All 7 supervisor are demoted and placed back in there previous titles.

Read the full decision here

EdPDLaw Editorial
June 14, 2017

DISCIPLINED FOR USING FMLA LEAVE?  DENIED REINSTATEMENT? A BIG NO-NO
 

EdPDLaw has received complaints that Deputy Dog has been disciplining members for using FMLA leave and that the true reason he has denied Baccola reinstatement involves FMLA leave. I hope that is not true, but given the history of the County, I won't put anything past them.  Just for the record, IT IS ILLEGAL to discipline or take any action against any member for exercising their right to use FMLA leave.  This has been grieved and won by the Union previously.  Moreover, there are state and federal protections in place to protect the employee from this type of behavior.  

Not only is this illegal, it will open the County up to expensive and unnecessary litigation, as well as audits to determine just how pervasive the behavior is throughout the Department.  

 

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 

   

    SEC. 107. ENFORCEMENT.

o   (a) CIVIL ACTION BY EMPLOYEES.--

§  (1) LIABILITY.--Any employer who violates section 105 shall be liable to any eligible employee affected--

§  (A) for damages equal to--

§  (i) the amount of--

§  (I) any wages, salary, employment benefits, or other compensation denied or lost to such employee by reason of the violation; or

§  (II) in a case in which wages, salary, employment benefits, or other compensation have not been denied or lost to the employee, any actual monetary losses sustained by the employee as a direct result of the violation, such as the cost of providing care, up to a sum equal to 12 weeks (or 26 weeks, in a case involving leave under section 102(a)(3)) of wages or salary for the employee;

§  (ii) the interest on the amount described in clause (i) calculated at the prevailing rate; and

§  (iii) an additional amount as liquidated damages equal to the sum of the amount described in clause (i) and the interest described in clause (ii), except that if an employer who has violated section 105 proves to the satisfaction of the court that the act or omission which violated section 105 was in good faith and that the employer had reasonable grounds for believing that the act or omission was not a violation of section 105, such court may, in the discretion of the court, reduce the amount of the liability to the amount and interest determined under clauses (i) and (ii), respectively; and

§  (B) for such equitable relief as may be appropriate, including employment, reinstatement, and promotion.


      

If you feel that you are being disciplined because of your use of FMLA leave, email us: edpdlaw@comcast.net

EdPDLaw Editorial
June 10, 2017

HUDSON COUNTY LEGAL DEPARTMENT, HEARING OFFICERS & PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT FEUD - FORMER C/O ANTHONY BACCOLA, DEPT. OF FAMILY SERVICES SPECIALISTS PENN, ALEXANDER & BRYANT LATEST VICTIMS 

Former Correction Officer Anthony Bacolla was hired on July 26, 2012 and successfully completed the Academy immediately thereafter.  In April of 2016 he resigned to take another position but within a year, decided to come back.  In accordance with the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) he reapplied to return to Hudson County Department of Corrections.

ARTICLE XXII
RE-EMPLOYMENT


Effective November 17, 1999, former Hudson County Corrections Officers are eligible for re-employment at the salary they were earning at the same time of their resignation provided that:

1.  They resigned in good standing;

2.  They held a civil service position and completed the one year working test period;

3.  They completed the Academy;

4.  Had no major discipline in their file;

5.  Apply for re-employment within three years of their resignation; and

6.  Pass an Internal Affairs backgound check.

Click here to the entire article.

Bacolla followed the contract and reapplied for his position.  Deputy Dog Edwards denied his application on January 31, 2017 stating:


Re:  Application for Reemployment

After a careful review of your personnel file and past performance.....it is not in the best interest..... (of something to the effect of hiring him back to work at the Department in his last title or another title).


Click here to view letter.
 

The Union grieved the matter on February 3, 2017.  Baccola's grievance was heard by Hearing Officer Roderick Baltimore who issued a decision on March 13, 2017 denying the grievance stating in part that Baccola never submitted documentation proving:

1.  That he submitted a re-application;

2.  That he completed the Academy;

3.  That he did not commit a major discipline; or

4.  That he submitted a letter from his previous employer.

In fact, Hearing Officer Baltimore noted that Officer Baccola never showed up for his hearing.  

We have been unable to locate any requirement in the grievance procedure which states that the grievant must be present at the hearing.  PBA President James issue, signed, and filed the grievance in accordance with the CBA Grievance Procedure, Step 3.  He also scheduled and showed up at the hearing. Click here to view Grievance. We are also unable to verify if the County supplied discovery, but know from the past that they seldom do so without a fight.  Baccola had no major discipline in his jacket which contained only one minor discipline from 2013 and Deputy Dog stated in his letter to Baccola that he was in receipt of Baccola's reapplication.  Baccola attended and completed the Academy shortly after being hired in 2012, a fact which could have easily been verified with a call over to personnel or by asking the supervisors at the hearing.

Click here to read Baltimore's decision.

This is another example of wasting taxpayer's money.  The County is going to lose at arbitration.  Despite being asked to pick an arbitrator in March, no arbitrator has been picked yet.  The delay is wasting additional time and money which will be owed to Baccola on top of the $700 the County still owes him for his unused time when he resigned. They could put him back to work and reduce their overtime costs.  Instead, Edwards' willful misappropriation of County funds will go unchecked and cost the taxpayers; overtime for the witnesses, payment for the Hearing Officer, and the cost of arbitration. This is a simple matter with a simple solution that the County will once again ignore to the detriment of the taxpayers.

Maybe the problem is that Baccola is a Caucasian male, like Calvanico and Novielli.  If he was an African-American he could beat an inmate, lose a civil service appeal and get his job back; or have his son use his service revolver to kill someone and not face discipline; or have an inmate commit suicide on his watch and come back to work?  This is a simple, clear cut matter involving minor discipline.

Or maybe there is an internal feud between the Legal Department, the Hearing Officers and the Personnel Director? As they fight over who gets to screw over their employees, like the Department of Family Service Workers - Penn, Alexander and Bryant?  As recently as May 17, 2017, Louis Rosen, Esquire scolded Hearing Officer Howard Moore and told him specifically, in no uncertain terms, and I quote:

"I pointed out that the burden of proof in a disciplinary matter is on the County, not the employee."

"...   I pointed out that the burden  of proof  in a disciplinary matter is on the County, not the employee.   Apparently, the hearing officer “forgot” that individuals were disciplined in the matter and were grieving that under the parties’ grievance mechanism. ...  

Regardless, although this Office responded quite quickly, central office personnel still has not issued a decision.  (See second attachment above.)   It is now out of time to do so and there has been no affirmative finding that the County’s discipline was merited.   My previous Email was pointedly addressed to Howard, but he never responded to me.    Although he blames me erroneously for not responding, he does not communicate with me at all.

 I have previously stated that Howard is sabotaging the process because he does not want it to go forward per the protocol you established.   He wants to make the findings of fact, credibility determinations and conclusions of law with his own group of attorneys and his own “office of county counsel,” which he has described it from time to time.    Don, you are allowing him to do this by playing into his games. 

 This is really aggravating and, I believe, insulting.     I and the other attorneys in this office really go out of her way to provide legal counsel, only to be ignored while watching Howard attempt to play around and cite you provisions of law and/or the protocol you wrote which, apparently, in his mind, you are misapplying.

Louis C. Rosen 

Deputy County Counsel 


Awe.... poor baby!  Thanks for the story Lou!

Could the Baccola matter be considered a disciplinary matter since Deputy Dog denied Baccola reemployment because of a previously adjudicated minor discipline in his file?  Did anyone present his personnel file at the Department Hearing?  Is evidence of the Civil Service appointment, Certificate of Completion from the Academy, minor discipline and re-employment application in the file?  It should be. Did the County give discovery to Baccola or the Union?

Is the County really going to throw away $5,000+ on an Arbitration that they cannot win because of the internal conflicts between the Legal Department, Hearing Officers, and Dept. of Personnel?  And let us not forget the internal conflicts between the Administration and the senior supervisors who have been displaced to the midnight shift...  or the seven other supervisors who have just been demoted...  or the third party Director who is suppose to oversee the jail, who has not fulfilled his contractual obligation to name a Director for the jail within his first 6 month appointment but was reappointed anyway for another $86,000.

No wonder disgruntled employees end up at the Freeholders Meetings!

SMHDF - Shake my Head Dumbfounded (I made that up).

@ 2017 Excessive Discipline Protection Database