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March 11, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Seattle police guild, manager group file court challenge to police-reform plan

Merrick Bobb, far right, addresses City Councilmembers Sally Clark, Jean Godden, Tim Burgess, Bruce Harrell and Mike O'Brienon his monitoring plan. His assistant is to his left. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

Merrick Bobb, far right, addresses City Councilmembers Sally Clark, Jean Godden, Tim Burgess, Bruce Harrell and Mike O’Brienon about his monitoring plan. Sitting with Bobb is his assistant. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild and Seattle Police Management Association filed court papers today asking for protection of their collective bargaining rights in response to police reforms proposed by a federal monitor.

A complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief was filed in King County Superior Court, the labor organizations said in a joint news release. The guild represents officers and sergeants; the management association represents lieutenants and captains.

“This is about the rights of workers and should not be construed in any manner as opposition to police reforms,” said the news release said.

Both the city and Department of Justice have given their approval of the plan proposed by the court-appointed monitor, Merrick Bobb. A federal judge is to consider the proposals on Tuesday.

The plan lays out specific steps to address excessive use of force, biased policing and other practices in the police department.

Sgt. Rich O’Neill, president of the guild, and Lt. Eric Sano, president of the management association, said the court action seeks to clarify the bargaining rights of the two labor groups.

While federal and city officials have expressed their respect for collective bargaining rights, Bobb’s monitoring team has indicated they do not intend to follow the bargaining process set forth in Washington state law, they said.

The court complaint said the monitor’s plan violates state law and may further do so in the future. It asks the court to find that provisions of Bobb’s proposals are subject to bargaining requirements.

Comments | More in General news, Government, The Blotter | Topics: Seattle Police Department; Seattle Police Officers' Guild; Department of Justice

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