Norfolk County Sheriff’s Department is in turmoil and the newly elected Sheriff, Sheriff Patrick W. McDermott, is to blame

Norfolk – According to NEPBA Local 575 members the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Department is in turmoil and the newly elected Sheriff, Sheriff Patrick W. McDermott, is to blame. Local 575 officials and the administration have been negotiating for a one-year successor contract extension; however, the Sheriff is proposing to essentially re-write the existing CBA by eliminating union benefits that have been acquired through years of good faith give and take negotiations in exchange for providing the union with the exact benefits that have already been approved by the State. These heavy-handed tactics by Sheriff McDermott have resulted in labor unrest at the jail.

On July 5, 2023, Sheriff McDermott unilaterally canceled two negotiations sessions with Local 575 that had been scheduled weeks in advance and directed the members of NEPBA Local 575’s executive board to attend a meeting on July 11, 2023 concerning ongoing successor negotiations. In addition to NEPBA Local 575, two other unions, both of which were in the midst of negotiating their own separate successor CBA’s, were directed to attend the same July 11th meeting. During the July 11th meeting the Sheriff then stressed to all three unions that the focus of ongoing CBA negotiations should not be about money; that he would not hire an employee who prioritized money over his/her love for the job; and that he would walk out of the meeting if there was anything but positive feedback from all three unions concerning ongoing negotiations. Once Sheriff McDermott concluded with his out of touch self-praise session, he abruptly left the meeting.

As mentioned above, the July 11th package proposal for NEPBA Local 575 contained only the benefits that had already been authorized by the state along with FOURTEEN additional proposals seeking to take away various benefits from NEPBA Local 575 members that took YEARS to negotiate into the CBA. Immediately following the July 11th package proposal NEPBA local 575 requested new dates from the Sheriff to resume negotiations. To date, the Sheriff has failed to provide the union with ANY negotiation dates and has alleged that NSO will likely not have availability until at least September due to summer vacations of NSO Management. This delay in resuming negotiations is a direct result of the Sheriff’s decision to cancel existing meetings and the members of NEPBA Local 575 should not be penalized as a result.

NEPBA Local 575 leadership realizes that the Sheriff and his administration are inexperienced and appear to be befuddled over the negotiation process, however, the men and woman of the Norfolk Sheriff’s Department walk the hardest beat in America and deserve a better contract than a bewildered Sheriff seems capable of giving them. Local 575 intends to request professional mediators to assist the Sheriff through this negotiation process.

NEPBA represents several other Sheriff’s Departments who grasp the difficulty in hiring and retaining correctional officers, those Sheriffs are working cohesively with NEPBA to find solutions to a real problem. On the other hand, the Norfolk Sheriff seems puzzled on how to work with the Union and fail to recognize how difficult it is to recover after going down the road of labor unrest.

One possible explanation of the Sheriff’s refusal to bargain in good faith is the threat and totally unprofessional comments made by Norfolk Deputy Superintendent, Thomas Brady, to a Local 575’s Executive Board member. When this executive board member recently questioned the Sheriff’s decision to utilize taxpayer money in order to purchase lunch for inmates as part of a graduation event, opposed to fixing a water supply shortage within the facility for unit members, Deputy Brady threatened to take retaliatory action against the union body during ongoing successor negotiations. Deputy Superintendent Brady ordered the union official to his office, upon entering his office Brady engaged in a verbal assault yelling at the Union official, to “SHUT THE FUCKING DOOR!! YOU’RE A 3RD GRADE PUNK!!”. Because Brady was acting like a lunatic the Union official asked for a representative to be present before any further questioning, to which Brady allegedly replied, “You better not”. Once the Union official obtained a witness and rejoined the interview, Brady continued his verbal assault by swearing and calling the officer a “PUNK!!”. At the conclusion of the interview Brady informed the Union official “just remember you’re in contract negotiations and your members are asking for favors”.

NEPBA has filed a charge of prohibited practice with the Massachusetts Department of Labor regarding the incident described above involving Deputy Brady. The Union’s charge focuses not only on the unprofessional and retaliatory conduct of Brady toward a union official, but also the Sheriff, who, by refusing to address Brady’s behavior was complicit in Brady’s actions which only further served to enable further unprofessional conduct. To date, Brady continues to work at the Sheriff’s Office, and to the union’s knowledge, has not been reprimanded in any way for his actions described above.

Norfolk County Deputy Brady is also alleged to be the subject of an ethics investigation after he allegedly ordered Norfolk County Sheriff’s plumbers and electricians to perform work at his private residence while they were on duty and being paid by the Sheriff’s Office. Again – No action by Sheriff McDermott!! In fact, the Sheriff invited Brady to attend the July 11th meeting with all three union executive boards despite the ongoing litigation pending against him.

Sheriff McDermott has earned himself an F grade as Sheriff of Norfolk County. The members of NEPBA Local 575 deserve a Sheriff who has the ability to interact and listen to their concerns, as well as hire Deputy Sheriff’s under his command to do the same, opposed to continuing to further enable a Thug like Brady to treat members of Local 575 in such an unprofessional manner.

NEPBA Local 575 members have considerable concerns about Sheriff McDermott’s leadership abilities and are considering a vote of no confidence.

Brattleboro Police Department Vermont Holds Award Ceremony

On Thursday July 20th the Brattleboro Police Department held an award ceremony for the excellent police work continuously being provided to the community. The occasion allowed family members and coworkers to get together and acknowledge one another’s dedication and hard work.

During the ceremony which was held at the Windham County Safe Place, the New England Police Benevolent Association (NEPBA) recognized Detective Sergeant Joshua Lynde for his many years of dedicated service, devotion, and commitment to the NEPBA and Brattleboro Police Association on his distinguished and continued service as Local President.