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Government and Politics

SLO leaders must decide how to handle binding arbitration

An administrative law judge says the City of San Luis Obispo needs to reverse course and bring back binding arbitration for the city's police and firefighter unions.

Back in 2011, nearly 3-out-of-4 voters approved Measure B, which put an end to the arbitation practice. Voters also created the binding arbitration method back in 2000.

The judge says the city didn't follow proper procedure before putting the issue back on the ballot with Measure B. The City Council will meet in closed session this Monday to discuss options, including an appeal.

Binding arbitration is a way to settle pay and benefit contacts with the unions representing the public safety employees. When the two sides don't agree, an arbitrator is brought in to settle the dispute. Currently—without this option—the city follows state guidelines as well as local procedures to resolve the issue, according to City Attorney Christine Dietrick.