Appellate Division Affirms Commission’s Decisions That Affirmed Interest Arbitration Awards Restoring Incremental Salary Guide

By Ira W. Mintz, Esq.

In re Hunterdon Cty. v. FOP Lodge No. 94 and FOP Lodge No. 29, App. Div. Dkt. No. A-4989-10T3 and A-5311-10T3 (6/5/12) 

The Appellate Division has affirmed two Commission decisions that had affirmed interest arbitration awards restoring an incremental salary guide for County Sheriff’s Officers and Corrections Officers.  P.E.R.C. No 2011-75 and P.E.R.C. No. 2011-80.  The Commission Chair and one Public Employer Commissioner voted against each decision.  The Commission minutes indicate that with regard to P.E.R.C. No. 2011-75, the Chair stated that “this award is the poster child for why the legislature sought to amend the interest arbitration law which imposes a 2% cap on base salaries which includes  increments. The Arbitrator in this case may have done his diligence under the old law, but did so with blinders on as to the current economic realities in 2011.”  The Appellate Division, however, was “satisfied that the record fully supports each finding, neither award is economically unreasonable, the County is able to afford each award without exceeding existing caps on spending and taxes, and each award will not impose an excessive financial burden on taxpayers.”

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