An arbitrator on Monday ruled the City of Santa Fe can move forward with a proposed shift change for the Santa Fe Police Department’s patrol division — shifting from four 10-hour shifts a week to five 8-hour shifts a week.
The move was challenged (and will still be challenged again through another appeal) by the police union, the Santa Fe Police Officers Association.
The gripe is this. While the police chief has the ultimate authority over such a shift change according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the union and City, that can only happen after good faith negotiations.
The union says those good faith negotiations never occurred and the shift change should be barred until that happens.
In this case, former chief Aric Wheeler made the decision back in February and quickly received a “no confidence” vote from the city with that shift change proposal being described as the straw that broke the camels back forcing the vote. Wheeler has since stepped down.
On a side note, I spoke with Santa Fe County Sheriff Robert Garcia on Monday and he says the same shift change his department did in August has been a success financially and with getting more officers on patrol.