On October 1, 2020, the Public Employment Relations Commission (“PERC”) appointed Richard C. Gwin as the Fact-Finder in this matter in accordance with State regulations. On December 5, 2020, Fact-Finder Gwin engaged both the College and the FAOCC as a mediator in an effort to resolve the outstanding issues. We met until 10:30 pm that night without success. While the parties have reached tentative agreements on the majority of issues, the definition of the “Preference” language remained as the major impediment to an agreement.
In accordance with PERC regulations, a fact-finding hearing was then held on February 5, 2021. The College and the FAOCC presented their cases to the fact-finder, and Mr. Gwin directed that both parties submit post-hearing briefs, which were due on March 19, 2021. Mr. Gwin will consider the evidence presented by the parties, as well as their legal arguments, and issue a written fact-finding decision containing his recommendations for settlement.
Despite the fact that the issue of Preference is presently pending before the fact-finder, on February 11, 2021, the FAOCC filed four (4) grievances. Three (3) of the FAOCC grievances reiterate the dispute over the same Preference language for which many grievances have been filed and consistently defended by the College over the past three and one-half years. Inexplicably, one (1) of the grievances addresses an issue upon which the parties have reached tentative agreement – the dispute over the deadline for submission of grades by faculty members. Significantly, the FAOCC did not raise these grievances during the February 5, 2021, fact-finding hearing.
Nevertheless, the College Administration and Board of Trustees remain ready and willing to reach a contractual resolution that serves the interests of both the FAOCC membership and the College and look forward to the receipt of the fact-finder’s written report and recommendations for settlement.
Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.
Ocean County College President