ADR,  Arbitration,  California Procedure

An Arbitrator with Chutzpah

It takes some cheek for an arbitrator to reform a collective bargaining memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) between a state agency and  an employee bargaining unit when the MOU has already been approved by the legislature pursuant to the Dills Act.  And its reversible error, of course.

In Dept. of Personnel Administration v. Calif. Correctional Peace Officers Assn., case no. C051636 (June 29, 2007), the Third District Court of Appeal affirms the trial court’s order vacating the arbitration award.  Such employment agreements must be submitted to and approved by the legislature.  By reforming the agreement to conform to her findings regarding the parties’ intent, thus changing the provisions approved by the legislature, the arbitrator exceeded her powers by violating the Dills Act “and the important public policy of legislative oversight of employee contracts.”