FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
||March 12, 2013
Deborah A. Boe, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
Agreement reached in Sheriff's Guild contract
Orchard) - Kitsap County announces that collective bargaining between
the Kitsap County Deputy Sheriffs Guild and Kitsap County has concluded with
the issuance of an interest arbitration award. The award, dated February 27,
affects approximately 115 deputy sheriffs employed by the Kitsap County
Sheriff. Interest arbitration is a statutory process whereby the parties
submit disputes over wages, benefits, and working conditions to an
arbitration panel consisting of a neutral and two partisan arbitrators.
The collective bargaining agreement between Kitsap County and the Deputy
Sheriffs Guild expired in 2009. Unable to reach agreement for a successor
contract, unresolved issues were “tried” before an arbitration panel in
October 2012. The award provides no wage increases in 2010 or 2011, but
includes a 2 percent wage increase effective January 2012 and another 1/2
percent increase effective July 2012. The award includes an increase in the
contributions deputy sheriffs’ make toward health insurance.
The decision, authored by the neutral arbitrator, is final and binding. The
arbitrator placed significant weight on the state of the County’s finances
in 2010 and 2011, explaining that “those years were marked not only by
hiring freezes and eliminations of vacant positions, but by successive
layoffs of current employees and by reductions in working hours for those
who remained.” The arbitrator acknowledged that elected officials did not
escape the fiscal impact: The County rescinded a scheduled 2010 2% increase
and allowed elected officials to self-pay the County’s part of their
insurance costs. Elected official pay rates remained frozen through 2012.
While most other county bargaining units agreed to wage freezes for 2010
through 2012, deputy sheriffs sought retroactive wage increases of 2 percent
in 2010, 1.3 percent in 2011, and 3.0 percent increase in 2012. The
arbitrator agreed with the County’s proposed pay rate freeze for 2010 and
2011, reasoning that pay increases “for Deputies for a period when their
co-workers were suffering reduced hours and the County was reducing its
level of services and eliminating programs” were not justified. Ultimately,
the arbitrator gave the deputies 2% for 2012 and a half percent beginning
July 1, 2012.
The Deputy Sheriff’s proposal if awarded in full would have cost the County
about 1.6 million, the award will cost the County $170,000 in 2012.
The County had been paying 100 percent of employee-only premiums and 90
percent dependent premiums. The arbitrator recognized that “100 percent paid
premiums for health benefit plans are no longer standard nor are they
sustainable.” Effective July 2012, deputy sheriffs must contribute 3 percent
toward the cost of employee-only premiums and 15 percent of the cost of
The panel also rejected deputy sheriffs’ demand for education premiums,
shift differential pay, and increases in premium holiday pay.
The award is applicable for wages and working conditions through 2012. The
County and union representing deputy sheriffs will return to the bargaining
table to negotiate a contract for wages in 2013 and beyond.