“Grievance Challenges Seniority Given To Chief’s Son

ANDERSON, IN — In what appears to be a case of favoritism, the Anderson Fraternal Order of Police has filed a grievance against the Anderson Police Department over seniority rights.

The grievance, concerning the most recent hiring of four patrol officers, was filed last week with Police Chief Tony Watters, whose son is at the center of the controversy.

Seniority for members of the police department is based on badge number. According to established protocol, when more than one officer is sworn in at the same time, badges are distributed in alphabetical order.

The Fraternal Order of Police contract with the city states, “If more than one police officer has the same date of appointment, then seniority shall be determined alphabetically.”

In the most recent hiring, Adam Watters, son of Chief Watters, was last alphabetically. But he was given the highest seniority of the four patrol officers hired.

The badge number order should have been Sean Brady, Andrew Lanane, Courtney Skinner and Adams Watters. Instead, Brady was put at the end of the seniority order.

The four new patrol officers were sworn in on the same day during a ceremony.

Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said that, although Watters received the first badge number in the city’s personnel records, the employee/clock numbers were entered alphabetically.

That means Brady would have the most seniority.

“In order to avoid confusion or concern at the department, I am requesting the APD administration to either reissue the unit numbers or take steps to make sure their records are consistent with the personnel department that reflect the recent hires in alphabetical order,” Broderick said.

Scott Calhoun, president of the FOP, confirmed the grievance was filed Wednesday.

“It’s in the chief’s hands,” Calhoun said. “It would then go to the (Anderson) safety board.”

Badge seniority is important because it impacts shift preference, days off, layoffs and vacation time under the terms of the union contract.

“In case of layoffs, they shall be made in the reserve order of seniority,” the contract states. “That is, the police officer with the lease seniority shall be laid off first, and the police officer with the most seniority shall be laid off last.”

Vehicle assignments are also based on seniority.

Broderick said he had not seen the grievance filed by the FOP.

“It is my understanding that, at some point, APD assigned unit numbers that may not follow the seniority order that may have raised concerns,” he said. “However, ultimately it is not those unit numbers that determine seniority in these cases, but rather it is based on the alphabet.”

From The Herald Bulletin