The Portland Police Association didn't waste time answering Mayor Sam Adams' refusal to reinstate Ron Frashour, the police officer fired over the fatal shooting of Aaron Campbell in January 2010. The union filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the Oregon Employment Relations Board first thing this morning, board chairwoman Sue Rossiter has confirmed.
That follows the script started by the mayor when he announced yesterday that he was going to ignore a state arbitrator's March 30 ruling to give Frashour his job back, with back pay. According to a copy of the complaint (PDF) obtained by the Mercury, the union says the city is "unlawfully refusing to implement an arbitrator's final and binding award," and, just like the city, it's calling for the ERB to "expedite" any findings.
The complaint is an attempt to rebut the legal argument underpinning Adams' decision: That state law allows cities to challenge arbitrators over "public policy" matters that include sexual misconduct and use of force.
Enforcement of Arbitrator Wilkinson’s award is not contrary to public policy. Arbitrator Wilkinson’s award does not require the commission of an unlawful act. Further, the arbitration proceedings were fair and regular, and conformed to normal due process requirements.
Moreover, the complaint, drafted by PPA council Anil Karia, also demands the city pay a $1,000 civil penalty for failing to abide by its contract with the PPA, and mentions the case of firefighter Tom Hurley, who wound up rehired even though the city tried to challenge an arbitrator's ruling on a disability issue.
The complaint even calls for awarding Frashour interest on any the back wages the arbitrator said he was owed, plus "economic relief to make him whole for any losses sustained as a result of the city's unlawful actions." Attached as exhibits are the PPA contract, the ruling by arbitrator Jane Wilkinson, and the mayor's statement released yesterday.
Rossiter says she couldn't comment yet on the complaint, or any timeline, since she'd just received it this morning and hadn't had a chance to talk with the ERB's two other members.
"It's going to take some time," she says. "We're a three-person board, and we'll need a few days."
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!