Sheriff’s guild, county clash in labor negotiations

The renegotiations of a new Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy contract turned contentious this week when Deputy Guild members accused the county’s chief negotiator of shading the truth and not providing the county commissioners with all the needed information.

The complaints were leveled against Kitsap County labor negotiator Rob Gudmundson, who also handled last year’s contract negotiations.

“There is a level of truth-telling that is absent in these proceedings,” said Guild attorney Jim Cline. “It has gotten to the point where if Rob says something is true, we’re inclined to believe the opposite.”

On Monday, the county commissioners voted to file an “unfair labor practice” charge against the Guild with the Washington State Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC), alleging the Guild had refused to bargain in good faith.

Guild President Mike Rodrigue initially responded by saying he felt negotiations were conducted in good faith, and that the mediator would let them know if they were doing anything inappropriate.

However, this particular safety net may not exist. Mediators are generally neither equipped nor inclined to inform a negotiating party of a violation of unfair labor practices.

Both hearings and arbitrations fall under the purview of the PERC but are quite different, according to the agency’s Unfair Labor Practice Manager Mark Downing.

Arbitrations, he said, work toward a common solution, while hearings are

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