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Hamiltonban Township police unionized

Richard D. L. Fulton

(10/3) The Hamiltonban Township Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at their October 2 meeting to not renew the current contract with the township Police Department.

The current police contract is due to expire on December 31.

The impetus behind the decision to not renew the existing contract is that the police department is now represented by the Teamsters Union Local 776, according to the board.

"We need to take action on the police contract," board Chairman Robert L. Gordon stated.  "We need to take action to not renew it."

The township police became "unionized" after an August election organized by the union at the request of the township police Officer Juanita Larmer. 

Being that Larmer would be the only member of the union, the approval to join the union was passed (at the local union election) on a vote of 1-0.

As a result, any future township contract with the police department must be negotiated through the union.  Previously, the officer negotiated with the township Board of Supervisors.

Supervisors Chairman Robert L. Gordon said, "The contract that she has with Hamiltonban was put in writing in 2004, and was renewed on an annual basis and without serious issues."  The contract included a minimum three percent annual raise.

Larmer is presently $17.25 an hour pay (averaging $35,000 annually), plus benefits, under the existing contract.

He said the reason the board voted to not renew the contract at the end of this year was "to give our formal notification the contract we have would not be renewed because she has chosen to join the teamsters union, and she is now represented by the teamsters union."

Gordon stated the township has not yet received a proposed contract from the teamsters.

"We took the action to establish a deadline," Gordon stated.  "I donít know what would happen if a contract is not in place by December 31."

The township has retained McNees Wallace & Nurick, Harrisburg, as their labor council should issues arise relating to the union contract.  The law firm was retained by the township as soon as the supervisors were "officially notified that of union involvement."

Larmer declined to comment on the union issue.

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