Marinette Co. to appeal in union contract dispute

Scales of justice
Scales of justice
A month after losing a decision in the court of appeals - where the judges admonished Marinette County and its attorneys for "attempting to mislead" the judges - the county has filed notice it will appeal the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Marinette County and Marinette County Professional Employees Local 1752-A disagreed about the interpretation how a contract extension was handled. An arbitrator ruled in the union's favor - extending the contract by a year - and the county appealed. The appeals court ruled in the union's favor.

Online court records indicate a petition to the Supreme Court for review was filed Thursday.

Andrew Phillips, the county's attorney, told Fox 11 Friday the county believes the initial contract violated state statutes and, as such, should be deemed void. The county maintains it can raise that as a defense at any stage but because there has not been court rulings of if that is proper during an arbitration hearing, it wants the high court to review it.

In the decision issued Feb. 11, the appeals court made note to "remind counsel of their professional obligations" to offer "meritorious claims and contentions… And Candor toward the tribunal." It called the county's arguments about the illegal contract "disingenuous."

"We find it patently absurd to argue an arbitrator's award could be overturned for failing to consider arguments or authority that were never presented to the arbitrator. Not surprisingly, the County cites no authority for this proposition," the court wrote.

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