A verdict will be given by Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board Hearing Examiner Timothy Tietze after the two-week deadline for submittal of transcriptions‚ and the 30-day deadline for submittal of legal briefs.

The hearing occurred at Norristown Borough Hall because that is where Tietze would be available‚ according to North Wales Police Bargaining Unit negotiator Donna Mengel.

The police accuse borough council of unilaterally eliminating the educational incentive‚ longevity‚ and sick time buyback benefits during the term of the current contract and without negotiating the change.

The police also accuse the borough of making unilateral changes in the medical insurance plan by requiring a 5 percent contribution by police officers during the course of the collective bargaining term and term of contract without negotiating the change.

Police also accuse the borough of laying off two officers to unlawfully impact ongoing collective bargaining‚ and using the reduction to coerce the police into accepting the borough's contract terms.

Another accusation by the police is the borough laid off the two officers so it would no longer have to pay benefits for them‚ and to transfer the work to part-timers.

The second case dealt with accusations from the police that the borough attempted to coerce the bargaining unit to agree to furloughs and other matters to get an agreement.

There was also an accusation that the borough's alleged tactics are acts of retaliation against the police for prior unfair labor practice filings.

At the hearing‚ the borough was represented by attorney Joel Barris‚ council President Jocelyn Tenney‚ and borough Manager Susan Patton.

The police department was represented by F.O.P. attorney Blake Dunbar‚ Mengel‚ police Chief Barry Hackert‚ and bargaining unit member Officer Chris Di Piano.

He was furloughed in a vote‚ along with least senior officer Lynne Custer‚ and then unfurloughed when senior Officer Pete Paul took early retirement.

On Friday‚ Di Piano testified that during collective bargaining sessions‚ the union was not advised that education incentive‚ longevity‚ and sick time buyback were going to be eliminated from the contract.

A new budget was adopted Feb. 14‚ 2006‚ with the elimination of education and sicktime benefits‚ and a reduction of $165‚000 in police wages and benefits.

Di Piano said first notice of the elimination of said benefits‚ and the 5 percent contribution‚ was from an article in The Reporter.

Di Piano said the borough reduced the longevity amount from $4‚000 in the 2005 budget for the department to $1‚000 in the February 2006 budget.

In the seven negotiating sessions‚ Di Piano said he recalled Di Pietro and Patton mentioning that without an acceptable contract‚ layoffs could occur or a regionalization of the department.

He said the unit was told if the early retirement and furlough of Custer was not agreed on‚ there would be no contract; the unit did not agree to the furlough.

Hackert said the department's one part-timer‚ who is a schoolteacher‚ has worked four overlap shifts when not at his full-time job‚ and there have been increases in overtime.

"He was asked to work longer hours on more days because of the manpower shortage‚" Hackert said. "Usually he provides us with two to five shifts a month. Now he is working six to seven days straight‚ at 12 to 13 shifts. We had to utilize him a little more."

This is cache, read story here