SOUTH BEND — Union members at the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office will vote on a contract offer on Sept. 17, but not without some hard feelings.

    Teamsters Union Local No. 252 Secretary-Treasurer Darren O’Neil said mediated talks on Sunday produced a settlement offer. The talks lasted about four and a half hours with a state mediator shuttling between rooms.

    “Neither side got everything they wanted, he added, but for the workers. It really came down to they’re pretty serious about their jobs and want to get this behind them,” O’Neil said.

    In a paid statement in today’s Chinook Observer, the husband of an emergency dispatcher said the dispute centered on the belief by dispatchers and corrections officers that the county broke with a past understanding that their contract renewal would be coordinated with the one for commissioned deputies.

    “A recently-retired county commissioner verbally assured Dispatch and Corrections that their contract would reflect the settlement still to be reached by the County Deputies,” according to the statement by John Indermark of Naselle. “While Corrections/911 would have preferred negotiating at the same time as the negotiations with the deputies were ongoing, they took this word given them by an elected official of the county as reliable.”

    The employees also believe it was an unfair deliberate strategy to exclude Sheriff Scott Johnson from the negotiations, which they refer to as “for all intents and purposes, a power grab,” Indermark said. The timing of important talks for the Sunday of Rod Run made it doubly difficult for Johnson to participate, Indermark said.

    O’Neil indicated that there is no significance or strategy to the timing of the vote. “It’s just the first day we can get everybody together to vote,” he said.

    Pacific County Commissioner Lisa Ayers (Commission District 3) said both parties were open to creative options for settling the dispute.

    Commissioner Bud Cuffel (District 2) added, “I’m just hoping that it’s over.”

    Both commissioners declined to give specific details of the settlement because the vote is still pending.

    In his statement, Indermark said this negotiating process will have a detrimental impact on their future trust of senior county officials.

    (Note that this version of this story reflects a corrected attribution to John Indermark.)

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