Case No. 04-04
                                      Issued:  October 8, 2004  

SEIU LOCAL 1989,                   )
                   Complainant,    )
                                   )      DECISION AND ORDER   
          v.                       )         
YORK COUNTY,                       )
                   Respondent.     )

      The Maine State Employees Association ("MSEA" or "Union")
filed this prohibited practice complaint on July 7, 2003.  The
complaint alleges that York County refused to bargain in good
faith with the Union in violation of 964(1)(A) and (1)(E) of the
Municipal Public Employees Labor Relations Law ("MPELRL"), 26
M.R.S.A. 961 et seq., by refusing to meet within 10 days of the
Union's request to bargain, by refusing to bargain over mandatory
subjects of bargaining as requested, and by generally repudiating
the collective bargaining obligations with respect to employees
of the York County Probate Office.  Timothy Belcher, Esq., repre-
sented the Union and Timothy O'Brien, Esq., represented York
     On October 8, 2003, Chair Jared des Rosiers conducted a pre-
hearing conference and heard oral argument on the County's motion
to defer to arbitration.  The motion to defer was denied in the
Prehearing Conference Memorandum and Order dated October 23,
2003, and that denial was not appealed.  The full Board, consist-
ing of Chair des Rosiers, Alternate Employer Representative Edwin
S. Hamm and Alternate Employee Representative Wayne W. Whitney,
met for the evidentiary hearing on March 4 and March 23, 2004.  


The original deadline for the post-hearing briefs was extended by 
joint request of the parties due to the anticipated release of
the Maine Law Court's decision in a related matter.  The briefs
and reply briefs were all received by June 2, 2004.  The Board
met to deliberate this case on June 8, 2004.


1.   The executive body for York County is the five-member Board
     of County Commissioners, with Mr. William Layman serving as
     the Chair.  All of the County Commissioners are elected
     positions.  The day-to-day operation of county government is
     overseen by the County Manager, Mr. David Adjutant.
2.   The Maine State Employees Association (MSEA) represents a
     bargaining unit of county government employees performing
     clerical and support functions in various county depart-
     ments, including the Probate Office, the District Attorney's
     Office, the Deeds Office, the Treasurer's Office and the
     Sheriff's Office.  There are about 30 different job
     classifications in the bargaining unit.
3.   Ms. Jennifer Kern was elected President of the local union
     in the fall of 2002.  Mr. Ron Gouin was the Shop Steward for
     the unit until the beginning of 2004.  Ms. Leslie Manning is
     a Field Service Representative with MSEA and is responsible
     for the York County bargaining unit, among others.  MSEA's
     Director of Field Services is John Graham.
4.   Within the Probate Office, there are five employees whose
     positions are in the bargaining unit represented by MSEA.
     Two positions are excluded from the bargaining unit:  the
     Register of Probate, an elected position that is excluded
     from bargaining by 962(6)(A), and the Deputy Register of
     Probate, a position that was recently placed in a
     supervisory unit. 


5.   The Probate Judge is an elected position also excluded from
     the bargaining unit.  Three provisions of the Probate Code
     concern the Probate Judge's authority with respect to the
     Register of Probate.  18-A M.R.S.A. 1-305 specifically
     states "The register shall be subject to the supervision and
     authority of the judge of the court in which such register
     serves."  18-A M.R.S.A. 1-507 also requires the Probate
     Judge to constantly inspect the work of the Register to
     ensure the duties of office are performed properly.  The
     third provision, 1-508, states:

           1-508. Register incapable or neglects duties

              When a register is unable to perform his
          duties or neglects them, the judge shall certify
          such inability or neglect to the county treasurer,
          the time of its commencement and termination, and
          what person has performed the duties for the time.
          Such person shall be paid by the treasurer in
          proportion to the time that he has served and the
          amount shall be deducted from the register's

6.   Ms. Diane Dennett was elected Register of Probate in the
     fall of 2000 and began serving in January of 2001.
7.   Ms. Dennett had difficulty learning the duties of her new
     position and demonstrated a variety of performance problems. 
     Matters were not being processed in a timely fashion by the
     Register or were processed improperly and had to be redone
     by other Probate Office employees.  There were complaints
     from the public and attorneys who worked regularly with the
     Probate Office regarding problems stemming from the 
     performance of Ms. Dennett as Register of Probate.
8.   The Probate Office employees first went to the Probate Judge
     in February or March of 2001 to report on the performance
     problems of the Register.  The Probate Judge attempted to
     instruct the Register on the proper procedures, but the 


     problems would always reappear soon after.  The employees
     felt that the Judge was overly concerned that they respect
     Ms. Dennett as an elected official and that he was not
     forceful enough in addressing her performance shortcomings.
9.   In addition to the performance issues, the Probate Office
     employees were concerned with the bizarre behavior of the
     Register of Probate.  Ms. Dennett had told them a number of 
     strange stories that caused them some concern.  One such
     story was that the police chased her on the highway while
     she was driving her Corvette.  The truckers came to her aid
     by making a line with their trucks and she then drove her
     Corvette underneath a tractor trailer.  During the summer of
     2001, she also told them she had a gun and knew how to use
     it.  She said she had shot an intruder coming into her house
     and killed him; that she had gone into a courtroom in New
     Hampshire with a gun in her purse and had been tackled by
     the security guard when she went through the metal detector.
10.  One day in October of 2001, Deputy Register Carol Lovejoy
     noticed that Ms. Dennett was acting in a particularly
     strange manner.  She was muttering to herself, "I've got to
     do something" and "Nobody's going to like it."  Ms. Lovejoy
     and the employees were very concerned.  Ms. Lovejoy went to
     Mr. Adjutant and told him that Ms. Dennett was acting very
     strangely, and that he might want to alert security.     
     Mr. Adjutant observed Ms. Dennett for a while and then
     ordered a lock down of the building that night and posted a
     security guard at the rear entrance.
11.  The Probate Office issue was a specific agenda item for a
     County Commissioners meeting in October of 2001.  Many, if
     not all, of the Probate Office employees attended, as well
     as the Register of Probate, the Probate Judge and a
     paralegal from a law firm.  The paralegal attempted to 


     complain about the slowness of getting petitions processed.  
     Ms. Dennett disputed this.  Mr. Layman, the Chair of the
     Commissioners, testified that Judge Nadeau then "took over"
     and started to make accusations which Mr. Layman thought
     turned it into a political issue.  After Judge Nadeau kept
     "pushing this issue," Mr. Layman testified that he:

           . . . I turned around and told him, I said, well,
          if you want to run the county, why don't you run
          the county, because these are county employees,
          they're hired by us, they can only be fired by us,
          and you're a judge, but you're only a judge of
          probate, you're not a civil judge.  So he got a
          little upset with that, and he said, well, you
          have always determined that you're going to run
          the--I said absolutely; under state law, Title 30,
          section 102, county commissioners have final
          authority over all department heads whether
          they're elected or appointed.  And I asked at that
          time, I said why don't you take and give me the
          names of the attorneys who have made some kind of
          accusations against probate court; I will contact
          them personally.  They promised me they would give
          me a listing of that; to this day I have not
          received that list.  And then I turned around to
          him and I said, Mr. Nadeau, where I come from, I
          said I come from the Appalachian Mountains, we
          have an old saying:  If you have problems within
          your family, take them to the woodshed and
          straighten it out, and I would advise you to do
          that.  And with that the meeting adjourned.

12.  On November 1, 2001, Judge Nadeau certified a change in job
     duties of the Deputy Register and the Register of Probate
     and directed that their respective salaries be switched.  By
     this action, the Deputy Register of Probate formally assumed
     many, but not all, of the duties of the Register of Probate.
13.  By February 2002, Ms. Lovejoy was having difficulty with the
     stress of doing her own job in addition to many of the
     Register's duties.  She went to the Probate Judge to get his
     assistance in reducing her workload.  Together, they decided
     to assign some of the Deputy Register duties to various 


     employees in the bargaining unit.  The bargaining unit
     employees performed these added duties without any
     additional compensation.
14.  At some point during 2002, the Register of Probate became
     concerned with the fact that personal phone calls were being
     made by the Probate Office employees.  She tried to identify
     phone calls made by employees by pouring over the telephone
     logs from the Commissioners' Office and using the internet
     to identify who had been called.  Register Dennett contacted
     the District Attorney's office to see if charges could be
     filed against employees for making personal phone calls.  In
     the fall of 2002, the Probate Judge had a meeting with all
     the employees and the Register on this issue.  He then
     issued a memo directing the employees to limit the number of
     personal phone calls.
15.  In addition to work quality issues, there were also concerns
     about the number of hours the Register actually worked.  The
     Register often came in late and left early and sometimes
     came in late at night to work.  After discussing the matter
     with the Deputy Register, Judge Nadeau attempted to
     institute the use of time clocks in the Probate Office in
     order to better track the hours worked by the Register of
     Probate.  The effort to use time clocks was unsuccessful.
16.  In November of 2002, the Probate Judge met with the Register
     of Probate and the Deputy Register of Probate.  The Judge
     instructed the Register to provide him with a written
     itemization of time spent on specific probate matters over
     the following two weeks.  She eventually provided him a
     handwritten sheet but it did not contain any information on
     the amount of time the Register was spending on any probate
     matters, as the Judge had requested.  It contained various
     notations such as "Anne and Carol had popcorn for lunch," 


     what time people left work, but nothing on her own work on
     probate matters.
17.  On November 27, 2002, York County Probate Judge Robert
     Nadeau wrote a letter to York County Treasurer James Atwood. 
     The letter had as its subject line "Immediate Statutory
     Change of Salaries" and stated:

             Pursuant to the provisions of 18-A M.R.S.A. 1-
          508, I hereby certify that I find the York County
          Register of Probate to have continued to be unable
          to perform various duties reserved to her during
          the past year.  Such inability and neglect are
          clearly likely to continue in the absence of
          corrective action which I have now ordered within
          the office of the York County Registry of Probate.
             Accordingly, to address the foregoing, I direct
          that you shall immediately reduce the amount paid
          from the previously authorized salary of the
          Register of Probate from its existing level of
          $37,565/year to $23,210.41/year, and that you pay
          over to the following persons to whom the
          Register's duties have been re-assigned the
          following amount from the difference: 

     The letter then listed 6 job titles with corresponding
     payments ranging from $20/week for the Temporary Clerk to
     $71.55/week for the Deputy Register of Probate.  The letter
     was copied to all of the affected employees, the County
     Manager, the Chair of the County Commissioners, and the
     Chair of the York County Budget Committee.
18.  In mid-December, the Probate Office employees came to the
     Union President, Ms. Jennifer Kern, with the Judge's letter. 
     She had not known about the Judge's Nov. 27th letter until
     this time.  The employees felt that they had a valid
     grievance because they had not received any money.  Ms. Kern
     contacted the MSEA office and was instructed by John Graham
     to write a letter requesting bargaining.
19.  Union President Kern wrote to the County Manager, David
     Adjutant, on December 27, 2002.  Her letter states:


             It has been brought to my attention that on
          November 27, 2002, an immediate statutory change
          in salaries was requested from Judge Robert M.A.
          Nadeau for MSEA Unit covered employees for higher
          compensation due to additional job duties and
          responsibilities.  Please see November 27th letter
             As President of Local 1297, I request impact
          negotiations on these proposed changes at your
          earliest convenience.
             Please contact me as soon as possible so that
          we may discuss this issue.
     This letter was copied to the Probate Judge, William
     Layman as Chair of the County Commissions, two Field
     Representatives at MSEA and the affected employees.  
20.  Mr. Adjutant testified that he did not recall having any
     discussions with any union representatives about Judge
     Nadeau's order when it was issued.  Mr. Adjutant testified
     that he believed that he spoke with Shop Steward Ron Gouin
     about this issue after receiving Ms. Kern's December letter. 
     Although he could not recall the specific conversation, 
     Mr. Adjutant was confident that he would have indicated to
     Mr. Gouin that there was some dispute about Judge Nadeau's
     authority to issue the directive.
21.  In a memo dated January 7, 2003, with a subject line of
     "Probate Office Inquiry," County Manager Adjutant responded
     to Ms. Kern with the following:
          In response to your earlier, written inquiry on
          behalf of unit covered County employees working in
          the Probate Office.  Please be advised of the
          following facts:
               - At this time, no grievance(s) are on
               file with this office.
               - On January 02, 2003, an Executive
               Session was convened as an item on the
               County Commissioner Meeting agenda re:
               the Probate Office.
               - No discussion or vote followed
               conclusion of the Executive Session.
               - By requirement of 1 MRSA 405, no


               further comment on the content of that
               Executive Session can be made.

     This memo was copied to the County Commissioners, York
     County's counsel G. Libby, the County Treasurer, and
     Mr. Gouin.
22.  The Probate employees received one paycheck that included an
     additional amount in response to the Judge's directive in
     late 2002 or early 2003, although it is not clear when this
     occurred.  It is undisputed that this payment did not
     continue beyond this one check.  
23.  Toward the end of January 2003, the Union had a meeting with
     the Probate Office employees.  The meeting was attended by
     Ms. Manning, Ms. Kern, and Mr. Gouin, in addition to the
     Probate Office employees.  Ms. Kern first learned of the
     bizarre behavior of Register Dennett at this meeting.  The
     outcome of the meeting was that Ms. Kern would make a second
     request to bargain over the wage and workload issue and that
     they would also file a grievance on the workplace safety and
     security issue.  They also decided that Mr. Gouin would meet
     with Mr. Adjutant to discuss these issues.  Mr. Gouin had
     this meeting on January 29, 2003.  Mr. Adjutant told him
     that the matter was pending in litigation and that his 
     hands were tied.
24.  Mr. Adjutant claims he had several meetings with Mr. Gouin
     between January 7th and January 30th, 2003.  He described
     these meetings as informal, stating:
               ... If [Ron Gouin] had questions or was
          merely trying to clarify information on behalf of
          his unit members, it was not uncommon for Ron to
          stop by my office early in the morning and say,
          Can we talk about this?  Can you help me
          understand this?  And I know we had some of those
          conversations. . . . [With respect to Judge
          Nadeau's order], I attempted to help him
          understand the county's position wasn't that we 


          were taking a side on this issue of whether or not
          the employees were or were not doing the work, or
          whether they were entitled to additional
          compensation, but it was a mere technical issue as
          to whether or not Judge Nadeau had the authority
          to direct the action that he had, and that I not
          being an attorney had to defer to people with that
          knowledge and that it was being pursued through a
          court process, and that until that happened that I
          felt that I had no authority to act in one regard
          or another.

25.  On January 30, 2003, Ms. Kern again wrote to Mr. Adjutant
            Acknowledge receipt of this letter as 2nd
          Request for impact negotiations (see 1st
          request attached, dated 12/27/02), regarding
          the additional job duties and responsibil-
          ities from MSEA Unit Covered Employees.  Also
          attached, please note your response to my
          first request.
            Please contact me at your earliest
          convenience so that we may schedule a date
          and time to commence collective bargaining on
          this issue.
     This letter was copied to Judge Nadeau, Commissioner
     Layman, Ms. Manning, and Mr. Gouin.
26.  Mr. Adjutant testified that he believed he also had a
     meeting with Mr. Gouin following receipt of the January 30th
     letter and again explained the County's position on Judge
     Nadeau's order.  Neither the MSEA Field Representative,   
     Ms. Manning, nor Ms. Kern were aware of any meetings that 
     Mr. Adjutant had with Mr. Gouin on these issues other than
     the January 29, 2003, meeting.  Ms. Kern testified that she
     would have expected Mr. Gouin to have reported to her if he
     had met with Mr. Adjutant on other occasions.  Mr. Adjutant
     acknowledged that the discussions with Mr. Gouin were not
     formal negotiating sessions or formal grievance meetings.
27.  On February 3, 2003, County Manager Adjutant wrote the


     following to President Kern:

             This writing is in response to your
          correspondence dated January 30, 2003 re:
          impact negotiations.
             As you may know, issues relating to the
          Probate Office are currently awaiting
          adjudication in Superior Court.  Pursuant to
          advice from legal counsel to the County, no
          action can or will be taken until issues have
          been resolved in Superior Court.

     This letter was copied to the Commissioners, Judge Nadeau,
     Ms. Manning, and Mr. Gouin.
28.  Sometime in early 2003, there was an incident that occurred
     between Register Dennett and Deputy Register Lovejoy that
     disturbed the Probate Office employees and added to their
     concerns about the security of their workplace.  Ms. Lovejoy
     had made corrections to a docket sheet that Ms. Dennett had
     typed.  Ms. Lovejoy was in her office with her back to the
     door and Ms. Dennett came in quietly then slammed her book
     down very hard and said "I'm not going to take this
     anymore."  Ms. Dennett wanted to know why Ms. Lovejoy had
     made the changes.  Ms. Lovejoy tried to act calmly even
     though she was very scared and explained what she had done. 
     When Ms. Dennett left the office, Ms. Lovejoy took a deep
     breath and went back to doing what she was doing.  She
     turned around again and saw Ms. Dennett just standing in the
     doorway, saying nothing, just staring at her in a manner
     that made Ms. Lovejoy feel very threatened.
29.  The collective bargaining agreement has a detailed five-step
     grievance procedure, which includes binding arbitration as
     the final step.  The agreement states that a meeting between
     the parties "shall be held" at each step of the grievance
30.  On January 30, 2003, Mr. Gouin filed a "class action"
     grievance on the failure of the employer "to compensate 


     probate court employees as directed by judge."  It alleged a
     violation of the preamble and the compensation articles of
     the collective bargaining agreement.  The remedy sought back
     pay for Probate Office employees "due to a re-assignment of
     duties and pay as per Judge Robert M.A. Nadeau."  Mr. Gouin
     presented this grievance in hand to Mr. Adjutant, at which
     time Mr. Adjutant denied it orally.  
31.  On February 4, 2003, Ms. Manning filed a grievance on behalf
     of the Probate Office employees alleging violations of the
     contract's Preamble and Security articles.  The Union
     grieved over:

          the hostile work environment created by the
          unstable and volatile actions of the
          supervisor; the surveillance of the
          employees, the threats and intimidation
          issued by the supervisor and the impact that
          these actions have on the productivity,
          morale and efficient operation of the
          employees of the Probate Court.  

     As a remedy, the Union sought:

          The removal of the immediate supervisor from
          the workplace and her continued removal until
          such time as the County can guarantee an
          atmosphere conducive to professional conduct,
          civil discourse and a safe work environment.

32.  Mr. Adjutant responded to the grievance of January 30th in a
     letter dated February 18, 2003, addressed to Mr. Gouin and
     copied to the MSEA office and Ms. Kern.  He denied the
     grievance, stating:

          . . . All matters pertaining to issues
          involving the Probate Court and Probate
          Office have been advanced to Superior Court
          where action is pending.  Legal counsel to
          the County advises that, due to this action,
          neither I, nor the County Commissioners,
          could take action.
             I am further denying this grievance on the
          grounds that, while Judge Nadeau does have 


          certain authority pursuant to 18 MRSA  503,
          his directive of November 27, 2002 is not
          within that scope of authority.

33.  Mr. Adjutant responded to the February 4th grievance filed
     by Ms. Manning in a letter also dated February 18, 2003.  In
     denying the grievance, Mr. Adjutant wrote:

          ... All matters regarding the operation of
          the Probate Court and Probate Office are
          currently pending in Superior Court.
             Beyond that point, neither I, nor the
          County Commissioners, have legal authority
          from preventing any elected official from
          access/egress to County property.  Lacking
          this authority, no action can or will be
          taken on this filing.

34.  Mr. Adjutant testified that although he did not recall the
     specific conversations, he is confident that the issue of
     employee security and the County's inability to bar Register
     Dennett from entering the building were sufficiently
     important that he probably discussed it with Ms. Manning,
     Ms. Kern and Mr. Gouin on more than one occasion.  
35.  By letter of March 11, 2003, directed to Commissioner
     Layman, Ms. Manning attempted to invoke the next step of the
     grievance procedure for both grievances by requesting a
     hearing before the County Commissioners.  The employer did
     not respond to the Union's request. 
36.  By letter of April 7, 2003, directed to the County Manager,
     MSEA demanded that the two grievances be submitted to
     arbitration.  Ms. Manning identified her preference for an
     arbitrator.  The letter was copied to Commissioner Layman 
     and Ms. Kern.
37.  Mr. Adjutant wrote to Ms. Manning on April 9, 2003, noting
     that the grievances had been previously denied due to a
     "lack of a grievable issue and advice of legal counsel" and
     that "those conditions remain unchanged."  Mr. Adjutant 


     agreed to Ms. Manning's choice of an arbitrator but noted
     that they objected to the arbitrability of the issue.
38.  In the meantime, Ms. Dennett worked somewhat regularly until
     April 22, 2003.  An incident occurred on April 18, 2003 in
     which Ms. Dennett and Ms. Stephanie Lekakos were trying to
     pass each other in a narrow aisle of the "stacks" portion of
     the office, where old books and records were kept.  
     Ms. Dennett moved to the side to allow the employee to pass. 
     According to Ms. Lekakos, there was no physical contact. 
     She did not hear anything about the incident until the
     following week. 
39.  According to Mr. Adjutant, Ms. Dennett came to his office on
     April 18th claiming that she and the employee had collided
     and that her shoulder was sore and she was going to get
     medical attention.  She reported it as a workers'
     compensation incident to Mr. Adjutant.  On the following
     Tuesday, Ms. Dennett worked part of the day and again
     stopped by for a workers' compensation claim form.  Even
     though her workers' compensation claim was denied, she has
     not been back to work since that time, other than the one
     partial day in October of 2003 described below.
40.  Ms. Dennett did not use the term "assault" when describing
     the incident to Mr. Adjutant, although he did testify that
     there were rumors that Ms. Dennett was going to file an
     assault charge against Ms. Lekakos.  When Ms. Lekakos first
     heard that Ms. Dennett was talking about an assault charge,
     she was very concerned and came to Mr. Adjutant to explain
     what actually happened.  He reassured her and told her he
     believed her account of the incident and not to worry about
     it.  Nonetheless, she was concerned that Ms. Dennett might
     decide to file an assault charge against her at some point.
41.  On June 11, 2003, Ms. Manning wrote to Mr. Adjutant in 


     reference to another "directive" from the Probate Judge
     dated the previous day, which sought to increase the
     salaries of various Probate Office employees.  Ms. Manning
     included a proposed memorandum of agreement on these new
     wages.  The letter also indicated that if Mr. Adjutant was
     unable to sign that agreement, the letter should be
     considered "a 10-day notice, pursuant to 26 MRSA 
     965(1)(B), to meet and negotiate over the implementation of
     Judge Nadeau's various orders, including his June 10, 2003
     directive to Treasurer Atwood."
42.  In a letter dated June 19, 2003, Mr. Adjutant responded at
     length to Ms. Manning's letter.  Mr. Adjutant wrote:
             I am writing in response to your letter of 
          June 11, 2003, regarding the order entered by
          Judge Nadeau on June 10, 2003, regarding his
          belief that the compensation of certain employees
          working in the Probate Office should be increased. 
          I understand from your letter that the Union is
          taking the position that the mere issuance by
          Judge Nadeau of the order, establishes a new
          legal, minimum compensation standard for these
          employees.  York County's position is that the
          validity of the order is currently the subject of
          litigation in the Superior Court.  If the order is
          determined to be valid and effective, York County
          believes that the order is just the first step in
          a process through which a determination can then
          be made as to whether or not the compensation of
          any employee should be increased.  The final
          authority to make job and wage-related decisions
          rests with the County Commissioners.  As a result,
          York County is not in a position to sign the
          Memorandum of Agreement that you enclosed.

             In addition, because Judge Nadeau's
          compensation modification orders are being
          contested in the above referenced litigation
          and have not yet been approved for
          implementation as they pertain to bargaining
          unit members, York County does not believe
          that there is anything to meet and negotiate
          over at this point in time.  In the event 


          that Judge Nadeau's authority to set wage and
          job terms ultimately receives approval from
          the courts and York County moves forward with
          the implementation process, York County will,
          of course, be willing to meet and negotiate
          over the implementation of a modified
          compensation system for the employees within
          the Probate Office.  Such a meeting at this
          time, however, appears to be premature.

             If you believe that we should meet in the
          interim to discuss the matter, please do not
          hesitate to contact me and we can promptly
          set up a meeting. 

43.  On July 2, 2003, Mr. Adjutant, Mr. O'Brien (York County's
     attorney), Ms. Kern, Ms. Manning and Mr. Belcher (MSEA's
     attorney) met in a room in the basement of the courthouse. 
     This meeting was held partly in response to the arbitrator's
     urging of the parties to try and settle their differences,
     and partly in response to the Union's request to bargain set
     forth in the letter of June 11, 2003.
44.  There is no evidence in the record on how the parties came
     to schedule their meeting for July 2, 2003.  There is no
     evidence in the record indicating that the parties agreed on
     the July 2, 2003, meeting date prior to the expiration of 10
     days from the receipt of the June 11, 2003, demand for
45.  At the July 2nd meeting, the parties discussed Ms. Dennett's
     behavior and the employees' security concerns.  They agreed
     that Mr. Adjutant should hold a meeting with the employees
     to hear their concerns and try to develop a workable
     solution.  With respect to the wage issue, the County held
     to its position that no action could be taken until the
     issue was resolved in the courts.
46.  The grievances filed on January 30, 2003, and February 4,
     2003, went to arbitration.  The arbitration hearing was held

     on July 24, 2003, in the Probate Court, which was a few feet
     from the Probate Office.  There was a dispute over whether
     the employees should be paid for their time at the
     arbitration hearing.  A grievance filed on that issue
     ultimately went to arbitration.
47.  At the some point, the parties agreed to hold the grievance
     on the pay issue in abeyance pending the resolution of the
     various court proceedings described below.  With respect to
     the grievance regarding the safety and security of the
     employees and the Register's behavior, the employer argued
     that it was not arbitrable.  The parties agreed that the
     Union would submit an offer of proof and the Arbitrator
     would rule on the arbitrability question and on whether the
     alleged facts would, if proven, constitute a violation of
     the agreement.
48.  The arbitrator ruled against the County on the arbitrability
     issue, and concluded that based on the Union's offer of
     proof, the employer violated the preamble provision.  This
     "recommended decision" was issued on September 15, 2003. 
     The arbitrator included a proposed remedy of three parts: 
     1) that upon the Register's return to work, the Employer
     should meet with her and explain that her behavior violated
     the contract and was not conducive to a productive office,
     2) that the Employer should meet with employees and hear
     their complaints and 3) that the Employer should relay the
     employees' concerns in a letter to the Probate Judge asking
     him to exercise some supervision to remedy the problem
     pursuant to his statutory authority to supervise the
     Register of Probate. 
49.  The collective bargaining agreement's article on "Position
     Descriptions and Classifications" provides, in part:
            The employer and the Union recognize that job
          duties may change from time to time, due to 


          changes in programs, technology, and other
          factors.  Employees may, upon recognition of
          significant changes in job duties, apply to the
          County Manager for upgrades in their respective
          positions.  Such upgrades shall not be
          unreasonably denied.  Should the employee believe
          that an unreasonable denial has taken place, they
          may request a desk audit review by the County

50.  A Probate Office employee named Cynthia St. Amand requested
     a desk audit and met with Mr. Adjutant and Ms. Kern on
     July 9, 2003 to review her job.  Mr. Adjutant took the
     matter under advisement pending contact with the County's
     legal counsel.
51.  In a memo dated July 15, 2003, Mr. Adjutant denied the desk
     audit, stating that he did so "as the result of pending
     litigation and/or arbitration filings.  Until these issues
     involving the Probate Office are resolved, I have been
     advised that I am unable to act."  An additional desk audit
     requested by employee Ms. Ginny Nadeau at about this same
     time was also either denied or stalled due to the pending
     litigation.  Mr. Adjutant testified that these two desk
     audits could not be granted because they were a result of
     Judge Nadeau's order to reassign job duties and increase
52.  A news article published in the Journal Tribune on July 11,
     2003, reported on various aspects of the disputes in the
     Probate Office including the County's refusal to bargain and
     the filing of the complaint in this case.  Commissioner
     Layman is reported as saying the County did not bargain
     because of pending litigation and because the Union did not
     follow the procedure specified in the collective bargaining
     agreement on job reviews. 
53.  On a Monday in October of 2003, Ms. Dennett arrived at the
     Probate Office for the first time in months looking very 


     disheveled and unkempt.  She was pulling a big suitcase on
     wheels with a long handle.  Ms. Lovejoy thought that she
     looked very ill.  The other Probate Office employees were
     concerned about Ms. Dennett's stability and their own
     safety.  Ms. Dennett told Ms. Lovejoy that she wanted to
     speak with her.  Ms. Lovejoy responded by saying "Just a
     second. I have something I have to do."  Ms. Lovejoy went
     directly to Mr. Adjutant's office and asked why Ms. Dennett
     was there.  In her presence, Mr. Adjutant called Attorney
     Libby and spoke to him about what he could do.  Mr. Adjutant
     told Ms. Lovejoy that he would speak to Ms. Dennett and see
     if she would leave voluntarily, as he did not have any
     authority to force her to leave.  
54.  Ms. Lovejoy and Mr. Adjutant then went to the Probate
     Office.  Mr. Adjutant met with Ms. Dennett in Ms. Lovejoy's
     office, while Ms. Lovejoy stood outside the door and
     listened.  Mr. Adjutant told Ms. Dennett that she did not
     look well, and asked her if she was medicated or under the
     influence of anything.  He did not think she was focused or
     in possession of all her faculties.  He asked if she had
     medical clearance to return to work, and suggested for her
     own safety and the county's safety that she go home.  She
     responded that even though she did not have to comply with
     his request, she would leave if he gave her a letter.    
     Mr. Adjutant went to his office to prepare the letter.  
55.  Ms. Dennett again said that she wanted to speak with     
     Ms. Lovejoy who responded that she would only do so if a
     witness was present.  Ms. Lovejoy called a security officer
     and the three of them met in the courtroom.  Ms. Dennett
     inquired about issues related to the operation of the
     Probate Office and acted as if nothing unusual had happened. 
     After a while, Ms. Dennett returned to her office and worked

     on the computer a bit until Mr. Adjutant returned with the
     letter.  Ms. Dennett left at about 11:30 a.m. and did not
     return, although she had told Mr. Adjutant that she would
     return with medical clearance the following day.
56.  Mr. Adjutant had seen Ms. Dennett on the Friday previous to
     her surprise visit.  He was in the Commissioners' and
     Treasurer's office informally chatting with a number of
     employees.  Ms. Dennett was there and mentioned that she was
     going to return to work on Monday.  He did not inform the
     Probate Office employees that she said this because he was
     not sure it would really happen and he did not want them to
     worry over the weekend.  
57.  After Ms. Dennett left, Mr. Adjutant spoke to the Probate
     Office employees and Ms. Kern.  He told them he asked her to
     leave voluntarily and that she would not be allowed to
     return without medical clearance.  The employees were
     concerned that she might return and wanted to know what
     management's response would be.  Mr. Adjutant stated that he
     needed to get further guidance and that if anything
     happened, he should be contacted immediately so he could
     observe her behavior.
58.  Not long after Ms. Dennett returned to the office for that
     partial day in October, Mr. Adjutant, Mr. Belcher and
     Ms. Kern met in Mr. O'Brien's office in Kennebunk. 
     Mr. Belcher strongly recommended to Mr. Adjutant that the
     County begin implementing the arbitrator's decision by
     meeting with employees to reassure them after Register
     Dennett's surprise visit.  Mr. Adjutant did hold this
     meeting in November of 2003 and by all accounts the meeting
     had a positive effect on employee morale.
59.  During 2003, a number of court proceedings were initiated
     surrounding the Probate Judge's directives of November 27, 


     2002 and June 10, 2003.[fn]1  Judge Nadeau initiated contempt 
     proceedings in the Probate Court against the County
     Treasurer for failure to implement the directive.  Register
     of Probate Dennett filed a complaint in Superior Court
     alleging that Judge Nadeau did not have the authority to
     restrict her duties or reduce her pay and sought injunctive
     relief against Nadeau and the County Treasurer.  Judge
     Nadeau also initiated contempt proceedings against Register
     Dennett for her failure to comply with his instruction that
     she not represent the Probate Court in any meeting of the
     York County Commissioners. 
60.  While the Register of Probate's complaint contesting the
     Probate Judge's authority was in Superior Court, York County
     submitted a brief in opposition to the Probate Court's
     Motion to Dismiss.  In that brief, the County stated that
     the County Treasurer had requested more time from the
     Probate Judge to consider the legal ramifications of the
     Judge's certification and explained in a footnote:

          As a public employer, York County is required to
          submit certain matters, including wages, to the
          collective bargaining process.  26 M.R.S.A. 961
          et seq.  The Treasurer delayed implementing the
          Judge's directive so that he could first negotiate
          with the MSEA (the employees' collective
          bargaining agent) - the failure to do so would
          constitute a prohibited practice in violation of
          26 M.R.S.A. 964.  The York County Treasurer had
          previously complied with an earlier salary
          reduction certification by the Probate Court in
          2001/2002. . . .
61.  Eventually, the cases were consolidated and presented to the

     1 The Probate Judge's first directive of November 1, 2001, which
reassigned certain duties and switched the salaries of the Register of
Probate and the Deputy Register of Probate, was implemented at the
time and has remained in effect since then.  As neither of those
positions were in a bargaining unit and represented by a union, there
was no duty to bargain.


     Law Court, which issued its decision on May 4, 2004.  The
     Law Court held that the Probate Judge's use of contempt
     proceedings was improper, and that there was no statutory
     authority for the Probate Judge to directly reduce the
     Register of Probate's salary.  York Register of Probate v.
     York County Probate Court et al., 2004 ME 58.  The Law Court
     remanded Register Dennett's complaint to the Superior Court
     "to consider the powers of the Judge of Probate, the
     Treasurer, and the County Commissioners pursuant to section
     1-508, and whether, and to what extent, the statute requires
     that the Treasurer act on the certification of the Judge of
     Probate."  2004 ME 58 19 (emphasis in original).   
62.  During the time period in question, two or three other
     grievances were filed on behalf of Probate Office employees. 
     One of these grievances contested the employer's refusal to
     pay certain Probate Office employees for the time spent at
     the July 24, 2003, arbitration hearing.  That grievance had
     gone to arbitration by the time of the hearing in this case. 
     An additional grievance (or two) had been filed regarding
     the employer's failure to act on requested desk audits.  The
     evidence on how these grievances were processed is not
     entirely clear.
63.  Mr. Ron Gouin was removed from his position as Union Steward
     sometime prior to 2004 because of his failure to meet the
     Union's training requirements.  Mr. Gouin told Mr. Adjutant
     that he felt that the Union had not treated him fairly.
64.  On January of 2004, two employees requested desk audits in
     response to the assumption of additional or different job
     duties that had been assigned by Deputy Register Carol
     Lovejoy.  After reviewing the change in job duties and
     discussing the matter with Ms. Lovejoy, Mr. Adjutant and Ms.
     Lovejoy decided they should continue to monitor the job 


     performance of these employees with respect to the new
     duties before making a decision.  Mr. Adjutant testified
     that he treated these desk audits differently than the
     previous two because the change in job duties was directed
     by the Deputy Register (acting as a department head), not by
     the Probate Judge.


     The Union argues that York County refused to bargain in
violation of 964(1)(E) and interfered, restrained or coerced
employees in the exercise of their collective bargaining rights,
thereby violating 964(1)(A).  There are three basic allegations 
underlying these charges:  the specific allegation that the
County refused to meet within 10 days of the Union's request to
bargain as required by 965(1)(B); the general claim that the
County refused to bargain over mandatory subjects as requested;
and the assertion that the County has effected a wholesale
repudiation of the collective bargaining relationship with
respect to the Probate Office employees.  We agree that the
County's failure to meet within 10 days of the Union's request to
bargain constitutes a per se refusal to bargain in violation of
964(1)(E).  We also conclude that the County violated 964(1)(E)
by refusing to bargain with the Union over the impact of the
Probate Judge's certification.  We disagree with the Union on the
issue of whether those actions and the Employer's other conduct
with respect to the Probate Office rose to the level of being a
wholesale repudiation of the collective bargaining relationship
constituting an independent violation of 964(1)(A).
     Section 964(1)(E) prohibits public employers from refusing
to bargain collectively as required by section 965.  Section 965
defines various components of collective bargaining, including
the requirements:


          A. To meet at reasonable times;
          B. To meet within 10 days after receipt of
          written notice from the other party 
          requesting a meeting for collective
          bargaining purposes, provided the parties
          have not otherwise agreed in a prior written

          C. To confer and negotiate in good faith with
          respect to wages, hours, working conditions and
          contract grievance arbitration, except that by
          such obligation neither party shall be compelled
          to agree to a proposal or be required to make a
          concession . . . 

     Thus, when a union submits a written request to bargain over
a mandatory subject, the employer is obligated to meet within 10
days and to confer and negotiate in good faith on that subject.[fn]2  
In this case, the Union made three written requests to bargain.  
The first one, dated December 27, 2002, was from the MSEA Local  
President and refers to the "change in salaries" "requested" by 
Judge Nadeau due to the added job duties and responsibilities 
assigned to the Probate Office employees. The Union President 
requested "impact negotiations on these proposed changes."  While 
it is not entirely clear whether the request relates to the  
Probate Judge's requested salary changes or the change in duties, 
the request for impact negotiations is unequivocal.
     In the second letter, dated January 30, 2003, the Union
President requested "impact negotiations regarding the additional
job duties and responsibilities" of the Probate Office employees
and asked that Mr. Adjutant contact her to "schedule a date and
time to commence collective bargaining on this issue."  Neither
of the first two letters explicitly announces that the letter is
intended to serve as the 10-day notice under 26 M.R.S.A.

     2 There is no claim that the Union waived its right to mid-term
bargaining in this case.


965(1)(B).[fn]3  Nonetheless, we conclude that both of these letters 
were proper requests to bargain that comply with the requirements 
of that provision.  
     The third letter from the Union, dated June 10, 2004,
clearly states that it is intended to serve as a 10-day notice
under 965(1)(B) to meet and negotiate over the implementation of
Judge Nadeau's various orders.  All three requests relate to
mandatory subjects of bargaining as both compensation and the
impact of additional job duties are mandatory subjects of
bargaining.  See East Millinocket Teachers Assoc. v. East Milli-
nocket School Committee, No. 79-24, at 5 (Apr. 9, 1979) (Impact
of absorbing the duties of one position into another is a
mandatory subject). 
     We conclude that all three of the Union's bargaining
requests were sufficient to trigger the County's obligation to
meet and negotiate.  The County argues that it had no obligation
to bargain because the Probate Judge had no authority to increase
the employees wages, a position the County incorrectly claims was
recently upheld by the Law Court.[fn]4  The problem with this
argument is that the Union's request for negotiation on wages,
like the Probate Judge's so-called "directive" to increase wages,
was a result of the additional job duties and responsibilities
assigned to the Probate Office employees.  The evidence is clear
that the employees took on additional job duties beginning in
February, 2002.  That change in the job responsibilities was
real, and whether the Probate Judge had the authority to increase
wages had nothing to do with that reality.  The scope of the 

     3 A reference to the statute is not required, although it is

     4 The Law Court held that the Probate Judge did not have the
authority to directly reduce or redistribute the Register of Probate's
salary.  2004 ME 58 19.


Probate Judge's authority to directly order wage increases or
redistribute job duties is a separate issue which does not alter
the Employer's duty to bargain over wages and working conditions.
     The Employer's doubts about the Probate Judge's authority
does not excuse its failure to meet within 10 days.  The Board
has always interpreted the ten-day notice in 965(1)(B)
literally:  a party must meet within ten days after receipt of a
written notice from the other party requesting bargaining.  A
failure to meet within ten days is a per se violation of Section
964(1)(E) and, as such, constitutes a violation irrespective of
evidence of bad faith.  See, e.g., MSAD No. 43 Teachers Ass'n v.
MSAD No. 43, No. 79-42, at 3 (May 1, 1979), citing NLRB v. Katz,
369 U.S. 736 (1962)(No need to consider the issue of good faith
if party has refused to meet).  Thus, the Employer's concerns
about the Probate Judge overstepping his authority is not a valid
justification for its refusal to meet.  East Millinocket Teachers
Assoc. v. East Millinocket School Committee, No. 79-24 at 5
(Noting that a misunderstanding of the law does not excuse the
duty to meet).  See also Local 1650, IAFF, v. City of Augusta,
No. 01-09, at 6 (Aug. 20, 2001), aff'd City of Augusta v. MLRB,
AP-01-63, Ken. Cty. Sup. Ct. (May 3, 2002).
     In the present matter, the Employer did not respond to any
of the three bargaining requests by meeting within 10 days.  The
County argues that the response it gave to the Union was
sufficient to comply with its duty to bargain.  The County
Manager testified that he responded to the December 27th bargain-
ing request by discussing the issue with Shop Steward Gouin,
although he did not recall the conversation specifically or even
when it occurred other than sometime after receiving the
December 27th letter.  He testified that it was likely that he
told the steward that there was a dispute as to the Probate
Judge's authority.  Mr. Adjutant also acknowledged that these 


discussions were not formal negotiation sessions.  There was no
evidence that Mr. Gouin considered the discussion to be a
negotiating meeting held in response to the bargaining request
nor was there evidence establishing that the discussion was a
meeting which occurred within 10 days of the request.  Mr.
Adjutant did not meet with Ms. Kern, the Union President and the
person who made the first two requests to bargain.  Similarly,
Mr. Adjutant's testimony regarding additional meetings with Mr.
Gouin following the January 30th bargaining request does not
establish that the County complied with the requirement to meet
within 10 days of the bargaining request.  We conclude that the
County's failure to meet within 10 days of either of these two
written bargaining requests was a per se violation of 964(1)(E).
     With respect to the June 11, 2004, request to bargain, the
parties eventually met to negotiate, but not within 10 days of
the request.  Mr. Adjutant responded in writing to the June 11th
letter on June 19th by fax and U.S. Mail.  In that letter,
Mr. Adjutant noted that the County was involved in litigation in
Superior Court over the validity of the Probate Judge's Order. 
He went on to state "York County does not believe that there is
anything to meet and negotiate over at this point in time. . . .
If you believe that we should meet in the interim to discuss the
matter, please do not hesitate to contact me and we can promptly
set up a meeting."  Although the County responded to the Union's
request within 10 days, the statute requires the parties to meet
within 10 days of the request, not merely respond to the request. 
The parties did not meet until July 2, 2003, well over the 10-day
     The County argues that by agreeing to meet and negotiate on
July 2, the Union waived any objection it might have had to the
failure to meet within 10 days of the request.  We agree that if
the evidence proved that the Union had, within the the 10-day 


period, agreed on a meeting day outside of the 10-day period, we
would likely view that as a waiver.  In this case, however, there
is no evidence that the parties had agreed upon the July 2nd date
within the 10-day time frame.  We cannot assume facts not offered
as evidence.  Meeting within 10 days is a minimum statutory
requirement set forth in 965(1)(B).  See Waterville Teachers
Assoc. v. Waterville Board of Education, No. 82-11, at 4 (Feb. 4,
1982)(Noting that a showing of bad faith not required when
"conduct fails to meet the minimum statutory obligations or
constitutes an outright refusal to bargain").  See also MSAD No.
43 Teachers Ass'n., 79-42 at 3 (Fact that parties met after the
10-day period does not render the 964(1)(E) violation moot).  In
summary, we conclude that the Employer violated 964(1)(E) by not
meeting within 10 days of three separate bargaining requests as
required by 965(1)(B).
     Beyond the failure to meet within 10 days, the Union also
alleges that the Employer violated the MPELRL by failing to
bargain in good faith at any time over the impact of the Probate
Judge's directives.  The standard this Board applies in
evaluating alleged violations of the duty to bargain in good
faith has been outlined as follows:

     A bad faith bargaining charge requires that we examine
     the totality of the charged party's conduct and decide
     whether the party's actions during negotiations
     indicate "a present intention to find a basis for
     agreement."  NLRB v. Montgomery Ward & Co., 133 F.2d
     676, 686 (9th Cir. 1943); see also Caribou Schoo1
     Department v. Caribou Teachers Association, 402 A.2d
     1279, 1282-1283 (Me. 1979).  Among the factors which we
     typically look to in making our determination are 
     whether the charged party met and negotiated with the
     other party at reasonable times, observed the ground-
     rules, offered counterproposals, made compromises,
     accepted the other party's positions, put tentative
     agreements in writing, and participated in the dispute
     resolution procedures.  See, e.g., Fox Island Teachers
     Association v. MSAD #8 Board of Directors, MLRB No.
     81-28 (April 22, 1981); Sanford Highway Unit v. Town of 

     Sanford, MLRB No. 79-50 (April 5, 1979).  When a
     party's conduct evinces a sincere desire to reach an
     agreement, the party has not bargained in bad faith in
     violation of 26 M.R.S.A. Sec. 964(1)(E) unless its
     conduct fails to meet the minimum statutory obligations
     or constitutes an outright refusal to bargain.

Kittery Employees Assoc. v. Strahl, No. 86-23, at 10-11 (Jan. 27,
1987), quoting Waterville Teachers Assoc. v. Waterville Board of
Education, No. 82-11, at 4 (Feb. 4, 1982).  In this case, we
conclude that the County's behavior constitutes "an outright
refusal to bargain" over the Probate Office issues. 
     The County argues that the County Manager's meetings with
the Union Steward following the first two bargaining requests
satisfied the employer's duty to bargain.  The County Manager's
own testimony, however, compels just the opposite conclusion. 
Mr. Adjutant testified that these meetings were not negotiating
sessions and were not even formal meetings.  He described them as
casual conversations arising from his open-door policy.  There is no
evidence on the substance of the discussions suggesting that
there was any effort to bargain.  The County Manager gave the
same response as his written response to the January 30, 2003
bargaining request:  He was unable to take any action until the
pending litigation was resolved.  Bargaining is more than just
stating one's position.  It involves listening to the concerns of
the other side, and making an effort to resolve differences.  See
Teamsters Local Union No. 48 v. City of Augusta, Board of Educ.,
No. 78-04, at 4 (June 7, 1978)(negotiations require a willingness
to discuss proposals and a give-and-take process); and NLRB v.
Insurance Agents, 361 U.S. 477, 486 (1960) ("[parties] are bound
to deal with each other in a serious attempt to resolve
differences and reach a common ground.")
     Based on these facts, we conclude that the employer refused
to bargain over the impact of the reassignment of duties in
violation of 964(1)(E).  This conclusion is further supported by 


the additional findings that the Employer engaged in a pattern of
refusing to deal with the Union in any respect regarding the
issues in the Probate Office connected to the Register of
Probate.  The Union filed two grievances in early 2003, but the
Employer did not meet and discuss the issues raised as
contemplated by the collective bargaining agreement.  The County
simply denied both in writing at the first step, stating that the
County could not take any action as long as the matters
pertaining to the Probate Office issues were pending in Superior
Court.  When the Union tried to take the grievances through the
next steps of the grievance procedure, the Employer did not
respond to the Union's requests.  Although the Employer did
participate in arbitration, the County offered no explanation at
the time or in this proceeding for its failure to respond at the
earlier steps of the grievance procedure.  The Employer also
refused to act on two desk audits, again relying to the pending
litigation as the basis for that refusal.[fn]5  
     The Employer's unwillingness to address any of the issues
festering in the Probate Office in any forum is striking.  The
Union summarized this phenomenon succinctly in its brief:

        This employer has argued that the union is in the
     wrong forum.  When it was in court, it claimed that it
     was required to bargain.  When asked to arbitrate or
     bargain, it claimed it should be in court.  To the
     press, it claimed that the contractual desk audit was
     the proper avenue, but when the union invoked that
     procedure, it claimed it could not act because of
     pending litigation.  Before this Board, it has claimed
     that the dispute should be arbitrated, while in
     arbitration it objected to arbitrability. . . .


     5 The employer is correct that the Union could have filed a
grievance over the Employer's failure to abide by the collective
bargaining agreement.  The fact that the union could have filed a
grievance does not preclude our consideration of this evidence in the
context of this complaint.

     Before moving on, we want to point out that the obligation
to meet and negotiate does not require either side to agree to a
proposal.  The statute is clear on this point.  See 26 MRSA
964(1)(C) (" . . . neither party shall be compelled to agree to
a proposal or be required to make a concession").  A negotiating
proposal is simply one party's proposed solution to a perceived
problem.  In this case, the Union proposed the implementation of
the Judge's directive on wages as a solution to the perceived
problem created by the additional job duties.  Face-to-face
negotiations could lead to different solutions.[fn]6

     The third claim made by the Union in this case[fn]7 is that the 
Employer's conduct with respect to the Probate Office employees 
constitutes a wholesale repudiation of the collective bargaining 
relationship.  The Union argues that this repudiation constitutes 
interference, restraint and coercion of employees in violation of 
965(1)(A).  In light of all of the facts, we do not consider the 
Employer's conduct to be a wholesale repudiation of the bargain-
ing relationship.  
     We have already found that the County refused to bargain
with the Union about the impact of the Probate Judge's directives 

     6 Nor is there any requirement that the employer accept the remedy 
proposed by the Union in a grievance.  For example, the remedy sought 
in the second grievance, which concerned safety issues, was to bar the 
Register of Probate from entering the building.  The Employer's 
written response noted that it did not have the authority to bar an 
elected official from the building.  Had the parties sat down and 
discussed the issues as contemplated by the grievance procedure, the 
parties could have explored other possible methods of addressing the 
employees' concerns.

     7 The complaint also alleged that the Register of Probate's
conduct toward the employees constituted interference, restraint and
coercion in the exercise of protected rights in violation of 26 MRSA
964(1)(A).  This allegation was not argued in Complainant's brief and
is deemed to have been waived.  See, e.g., Westbrook Police Unit of
AFSCME v. City of Westbrook, No. 81-53, at 6 (August 6, 1981).


and that it did not fully comply with the steps of the grievance
procedure and the desk audit process in the collective bargaining
agreement.  On the other hand, the County's behavior with respect
to the grievance procedure was not a total repudiation:  The
County responded in writing and face-to-face at the first step
and subsequently participated in arbitration.  Furthermore, there
was at least one other grievance involving the Probate Office
employees which went to arbitration.  The evidence does not
establish a pattern of refusing to process grievances.  See
Auburn School Support Personnel, AFT, Local 3832, v. Auburn
School Committee, No. 91-12, at 15 (July 11, 1991)(A pattern of
refusing to process grievances could constitute a repudiation of
the negotiated grievance procedure, and thus be a failure to
bargain.)  We also note that the five Probate Office employees
constitute only a part of a bargaining unit that contains over
two dozen other job titles.  There was no evidence of any
repudiation of the bargaining relationship or failure to process
grievances with respect to the rest of the bargaining unit.  What
the matter boils down to, then, is a refusal to deal with the
union with respect to certain issues involving a small part of a
larger bargaining unit.  There is nothing "wholesale" about the
County's conduct.  See Sharron V.A. Wood v. Maine Educ. Assoc.
and Maine Technical College System, No. 03-06, at 29 (June 14,
2004)("A wholesale repudiation of a major provision of the
contract or the contract as a whole may be tantamount to a
repudiation of the bargaining relationship or of the basic
principles of collective bargaining.")  While we certainly do not
condone this behavior, and indeed have found the County to have
violated its duty to bargain, we do not think it is equivalent to
a total repudiation of the collective bargaining relationship. 
We therefore dismiss that portion of the complaint. 
     In summary, we agree that the County's failure to meet 


within 10 days of the Union's request to bargain constitutes a
per se refusal to bargain in violation of 964(1)(E).  We also
conclude that the County violated 964(1)(E) by refusing to
bargain with the Union over the impact of the Probate Judge's
certifications.  Contrary to the Union's claim, we conclude that
the County's overall conduct did not rise to the level of a
wholesale repudiation of the collective bargaining relationship
constituting an independent violation of 964(1)(A). 
Accordingly, that portion of the complaint alleging a violation
of 964(1)(A) is dismissed.


     On the basis of the foregoing findings of facts and
discussion and by virtue of and pursuant to the powers granted to
the Maine Labor Relations Board by the provisions of 26 M.R.S.A.
968(5), it is hereby ORDERED:

     Respondent York County and its representatives and agents

     1.  Cease and desist from refusing to bargain with the
     Maine State Employees Association over the impact of
     the Probate Judge's directives reassigning job duties
     and redistributing the Register of Probate's salary.

     2.  Take the affirmative action designed to effectuate
     the purposes of the Act of meeting with the Maine State
     Employees Association for the purposes of negotiating
     the impact of the Probate Judge's directives on the
     terms and conditions of employment of employees in the
     Probate Office within ten days of receipt of this
     order.  The parties may meet beyond the ten-day period
     if mutually agreeable.  
     3.  York County shall post for thirty (30) consecutive
     days copies of the attached notice to employees which
     states that York County will cease and desist from the
     actions set forth in paragraphs one and will take the
     affirmative action set forth in paragraphs two, three 


     and four.[fn]8  The notice must be posted in conspicuous 
     places where notices to members of the York County 
     General Government Unit are customarily posted, and at 
     all times when such employees customarily perform work 
     at those places.  Copies of the notice must be signed 
     by the County Manager prior to posting and must be 
     posted immediately upon receipt.  The County Manager 
     must take reasonable steps to ensure that the notices 
     are not altered, defaced, or covered by other 

     4.  The York County Commissioners or the County Manager
     must notify the Board by affidavit or other proof of
     the date of posting and of final compliance with this

Dated at Augusta, Maine, this 8th day of October, 2004.

                                  MAINE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
The parties are advised of
their right to week review        /s/___________________________
of this decision and order        Jared S. des Rosiers
by the Superior Court by          Alternate Chair
filing a complaint pursuant 
to 26 M.R.S.A. 968(4) and in
accordance with Rule 80C of       /s/___________________________
the Rules of Civil Procedure      Edwin S. Hamm
within 15 days of the date of     Alternate Employer
this decision.                    Representative
                                  Wayne W. Whitney
                                  Alternate Employee


     8 In the event that the Board's Decision and Order is appealed and 
is affirmed by the Maine Superior Court, the words in the Notice
"Posted by Order of the Maine Labor Relations Board" shall be altered
to read "Posted by Order of the Maine Labor Relations Board, affirmed
by the Maine Superior Court."


                       NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES

     WE WILL CEASE AND DESIST from refusing to bargain with
     the Maine State Employees Association over the impact
     of the Probate Judge's directives reassigning job
     duties and redistributing the Register of Probate's

     WE WILL TAKE THE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION of meeting with the
     Maine State Employees Association within ten days of
     receipt of the Board's ORDER for the purposes of
     negotiating the impact of the Probate Judge's
     directives on the terms and conditions of employment of
     employees in the Probate Office.  The parties may meet
     beyond the ten-day period if mutually agreeable. 

     WE WILL post this notice of the Board's Order for 30
     consecutive days in conspicuous places where notices to
     members of the York County General Government Unit are
     customarily posted.

     WE WILL notify the Board of the date of posting and
     final compliance with its Order.

___________      ___________________________________________
Date             David Adjutant, County Manager, York County

This Notice must remain posted for 30 consecutive days as required by
Order of the Maine Labor Relations Board and must not be altered,
defaced, or covered by any other material.  Any questions concerning
this notice or compliance with its provisions may be directed to:

                         STATE OF MAINE
                    STATE HOUSE STATION 90 
              AUGUSTA, MAINE 04333 (207) 287-2015


                    AND MUST NOT BE DEFACED.