Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Court dismisses Cumberland corrections officers' challenge to new disciplinary policy.

On June 1, 2015, the Policemen's Benevolent Association Local 231, which is the labor union for non-supervisory Cumberland County corrections officers, sued the County and County Jail Warden Robert M. Balicki for requiring corrections officers to serve suspensions while the disciplinary cases underlying those suspensions were still under appeal.

At issue in the lawsuit, captioned PBA Local 231 v. County of Cumberland, Docket No. CUM-L-372-15 and filed by Marlton lawyer Stuart J. Altermann, are eight letters Balicki sent on May 11, 2015 advising the officer who received them that "the Cumberland County Department of Corrections has decided to execute the suspension days currently under appeal."  The letters, which are attached to Altermann's court filing, identify the officers who received them, disclose the suspension terms imposed and, in some cases, disclose the nature of the alleged underlying conduct:

  • Victor Bermudez; 10 days
  • Janitqua Days; 1 day; lateness
  • Anthony Bermudez; 5 days; simple assault
  • Richard Cotto; 10 days; balance from "major discipline settlement agreement."
  • George Bailey; 30 days; see details below.
  • Jason Corley; 1 day "per pay for ten pays"; settlement agreement.
  • Justin Cimino; 6 days, harassment
  • (Victor Bermudez appears to have received two identical letters.) 

Also attached as an exhibit to Altermann's filing was a May 11, 2015 Unfair Practice Charge he filed with the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) on behalf of Officer George Bailey.  The PERC charge revealed that Bailey had been disciplined for using his cell phone while in secured area of the jail.

According to the Superior Court's on-line civil access database, Judge Richard J. Geiger dismissed the case on July 30, 2015.  The database also shows that a Case Management Conference was held on July 30, 2015 at 1:30 p.m.  I have submitted additional requests to find out details on the resolutions of this case and will publish what I learn
.