PITTSBURGH – A Fraternal Order of Police lodge is seeking an appeal to overturn an arbitration award on the grounds of its due process rights being violated and to secure the promotion of one of its members to Sergeant.

The Fraternal Order of Police, Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1 of Pittsburgh filed an appeal in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on July 17 versus The City of Pittsburgh.

Officer David Sisak is a member of both the Pittsburgh Police Department and the Fraternal Order of Police, Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1. Sisak was hired on Sept. 26, 2005. In January, Sisak was runner-up in terms of Civil Service Commission scores on the list of candidates eligible for a promotion to Sergeant. But as the top candidate left the City’s employ, Sisak became first on the list by process of elimination, the suit says.

Though Pittsburgh’s Chief of Police Scott Schubert and Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich nominated Sisak for the promotion of Sergeant in February, Sisak was denied the promotion in an official response to his application on March 22.

That same day, the plaintiff filed a grievance to this denial on the ground it violated Sections 3, 4, 17 and 19 of Sisak’s Working Agreement. The grievance went to arbitration and was assigned to arbitrator Philip Parkinson, for a meeting to be held June 7.

At the meeting, the City raised a challenge on both procedural and substantive grounds and granted the City’s request to examine those issues, before turning to the merits of the grievance. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was denied the opportunity to present testimony and both parties were invited to submit written arguments on their positions by mail, which was one on June 17.

Parkinson then issued his decision on July 1, saying the grievance was ineligible for arbitration and that the denial, in his view, was implemented by Hissrich through Schubert. Parkinson added for Sisak, “The remedy…rests with the Police Civil Service Commission and not under the [Working] Agreement.”

Though the Fraternal Order of Police submitted a motion for reconsideration of Parkinson’s decision, the official denied that motion on July 17.

According to the plaintiff, Parkinson exceeded his jurisdiction when he addressed issues not properly submitted to him, such as the bifurcation of the matter’s arbitrability before examining the merits of the case. Further, the plaintiff believes Parkinson violated its due process rights by denying them the opportunity to present testimony at the arbitration hearing.

The plaintiff is seeking its appeal to vacate the arbitration award on the grounds of its due process rights being violated be granted, and to secure the promotion of Sisak to Sergeant in the Pittsburgh Police Department.

The plaintiff is represented by Christopher J. Cimballa of Welby Stoltenberg Cimballa & Cook, in Pittsburgh.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas case GD-17-010720

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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