orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Government

November 16, 2013

Orange County hires liaison for negotiations

ORANGE — Orange County Commissioners Court has hired a mediator for the Sheriff Union negotiations.

Larry Watts of Public Sector Solutions will be working as a liaison between the county and the union.

Watts said, during a phone interview, that he has approximately 30 years of experience in this type of negations.

Public Sector Solutions assists local government executives resolve a wide range of issues, including employment and human relations issues, collective bargaining and meet and confer negotiations, assistance with quality control in the administration of state civil service provisions, evaluation of policy and procedure, studies and recommendations for police, fire and other department operational solutions and overall management of quality control in the area of public safety operations according to the website.

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said county felt the need to hire an third party to avoid arbitration.

“We are still trying,” Thibodeaux said in a phone interview. “We have made offers, but there have been no counter offers. They keep saying no.”

Thibodeaux said Sheriff’s office had great employees doing a great job but the current financial situation of the county is requiring changes to be made.

The county is currently freezing all new hires and cutting travel expenses for each department due to a deficit budget of $6.5 million for the 2013/2014 fiscal year.

Negations between the county and the union have been ongoing since June.

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