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Hearing on cops' complaint against mayor continued

Chambersburg mayor Tom Newcomer has agreed to issue a public statement regarding an unfair labor practices charge brought agains

Chambersburg mayor Tom Newcomer has agreed to issue a public statement regarding an unfair labor practices charge brought agains

October 11, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A hearing on a complaint by the Chambersburg police union charging Mayor Tom Newcomer with unfair labor practices was continued indefinitely this week after Newcomer agreed to issue a public statement, a lawyer representing the union said Thursday.

Newcomer said Thursday he would read the statement at an upcoming Chambersburg Borough Council meeting. He said it would not be at a council work session scheduled for Tuesday.

Ian Blynn, a Harrisburg, Pa., attorney hired by the Chambersburg Police Officers Association, said the sides have reached a tentative settlement in the dispute.

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A hearing before the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board scheduled for today in Harrisburg was continued pending a statement from Newcomer, Blynn said.

"The union is satisfied," Blynn said.

The members are confident the mayor will follow through and make the statement, he said.

The union in July filed the complaint against the borough, accusing Newcomer of cursing at and berating the officers in a closed-door meeting after the union decided to move into arbitration.

The borough and union are involved in negotiations over a new contract. The current police contract expires at the end of the year.

The officers also accused Newcomer of interfering with contract negotiations and trying to intimidate them.

The flap surfaced at a May meeting between Newcomer, a member of the borough's negotiating committee and three police officers whom he had ordered to come into his office.

The union accused Newcomer of berating the officers and using foul language at the meeting. They said Newcomer's actions were an attempt to coerce the union into withdrawing its demand for arbitration and to discourage membership in a labor organization.

Newcomer said at the time that he was surprised at the request for arbitration since the borough had not yet finished presenting its position.

He later made a public apology at a council meeting to the council and police department saying he intended no malice or intimidation toward police.

The union, however, filed the complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

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