EDGAR CO. (ECWd) -
The case of the Edgar County Sheriff's (Ed Motley) v. Roger Hopper and Dee Burgin was called in court today. If you can remember back to last year, this case came about after an arbitrator ruled in their favor. The Sheriff did not agree with that decision and took it to the Circuit Court.
The Sheriff's attorney unsuccessfully argued that they were not deputies under the merit system and consequently were not subject to union rules. Karl Farnham Jr. hired Hopper and Tim Crippes hired Burgin.
Although Judge Glenn did state that he felt the hiring of the two deputies was flawed, he did not find grounds to vacate the arbitrator's ruling.
The Sheriff has 30 days to appeal to the Appellate Court, it is unclear at this time if the case will be appealed, or hire them back.
All parties must meet with the arbitrator again to determine the "set-off" of the reimbursement to Hopper and Burgin.
A "set-off" is the difference between what they would have made on the job as a deputy, and the amount they made working other jobs and/or drawing unemployment benefits.
More information will be published as we find it...
****UPDATE: It appears we have more information from the Defense Attorney. He left in as a comment, but I will put it in the article to keep it separated from the other comments:
I think you well know that the judge did not simply say there were no grounds to vacate the arbitrator’s award. He stated clearly, and in no uncertain terms, that not only did the law not allow him to vacate the award, but that he would have come to the same conclusions the arbitrator did in his award (the arbitrator concluded, amongst other things, that deputies Hopper and Burgin were both ultimately “merited by the Commission.” Page 20 of the the arbitrator’s award.) The judge also stated that it was his conclusion that deputies Hopper and Burgin are qualified, and the power vested in Sheriff Farnham and Sheriff Crippes is no different than the power vested in Sheriff Motley to hire deputies, and while he certainly pointed to an imperfect process as to the Merit Commission and how it has functioned in Edgar County in the past, he also stated that Hopper’s and Burgin’s appointments were not wrongful. Furthermore, the judge did not have to order deputies Hopper and Burgin back to work, the arbitrator has already done so, the judge merely affirmed that order. So, I believe your statements as to the Judge’s decision to be woefully incomplete and either inattentive as to important detail or intellectually dishonest in their telling, and appear to be driven by an agenda.
If you disagree, get the transcript and I will meet face to face to allow you the opportunity to show me how I got it wrong. We can both openly record that meeting for the sake of accuracy.
If the Sheriff decides to appeal, I have full faith and belief that a higher court will rule no differently than the arbitrator and now the circuit judge.
I will not engage in a tit for tat, and I will not make personal attacks, but I will not allow a nuanced incomplete telling of this case to go unchallenged.
Sincerely John Weathers,
Attorney for the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council