ONTARIO — Two police officers in Ontario are facing termination if they do not have Oregon issued driver licenses soon.
The Ontario City Council held a brief meeting at noon on Tuesday “to discuss a personnel issue.” Mayor Riley Hill called for the special meeting that City Manager Adam Brown outlined in an email message sent at noon the previous day.
The email stated that the discussion of the personnel issue would be done in closed session, reopening after the closed session was concluded.
Following the meeting, Brown shared more details in an email response.
“Not much to report on. They came out of executive session and said follow city policy [regarding the city’s residency rule] and follow legal counsel. Then they adjourned,” stated Brown.
A unanimous vote was taken by the council on the matter.
This meeting took place in the midst of an ongoing dispute between the City of Ontario and the Ontario Police Association, the city’s police union, regarding the city’s residency resolution for employees.
The resolution, which passed on February 28, 2018, is a rule that was enacted without first allowing collective bargaining pertaining to the matter, according to a complaint filed against the city on behalf of the union.
The city alleges, however, that the union did not seek to bargain the issue in a timely manner, indicating that the time has past for bargaining.
On March 6, the Ontario Police Association filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the City of Ontario. This complaint alleges that the city violated Oregon Revised Statute in regard to collective bargaining with union employees.
The Argus Observer reached out to the Ontario Police Association’s President Chris Bolyard following Tuesday’s City Council meeting to see if he knew whether meeting of the Ontario City Council was in relation to the ongoing dispute between the two entities.
“We have not gotten any information from the city in regards to this meeting. The city did serve a letter on 03-26-20, to two of the employees affected by the residency requirement, threatening termination on 04-02-20 if they had not gotten Oregon drivers licenses by that date,” wrote Bolyard in an email response regarding this matter.
Bolyard explained further that representatives from the union pointed out to the city that the Department of Motor Vehicles is currently closed due to precautionary measures regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
According to the DMV’s website, it will not be open again to the public until April 28.
Bolyard said the city has since extended the deadline to “7 days past the day the DMV re-opens to the public.”
“At this point we are becoming confused by the [city’s] priorities and are unsure of what they are attempting to accomplish with letters threatening termination in regards to matters that are unable to be complied with,” he said. “I am hopeful that the meeting will result in the city heeding sound legal advise by their attorney and a return to common sense in regards to this matter.”