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Local lawyer nominated for county Labor Management Board

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Kelly Cassels (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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A local lawyer has been recommended as the third member of the Chaves County Labor Management Relations Board, which has been reconvened after a request by some Sheriff’s department employees to be represented by a union.

Kelly Cassels with Sanders, Bruin, Coll and Worley law firm in Roswell, has been approved by the other two members to join them as they advise county officials on matters related to its workers and county management. The board members made their decision at a Thursday night meeting.

Cassels’ nomination now will be considered by the Chaves County Board of Commissioners, most likely at the group’s Oct. 19 meeting.

If approved for the board, Cassels will serve with David Parsons, a former Greyhound Bus Corp. executive and New Mexico state legislator, who represents management, and George Mata, a retired Roswell firefighter and a former union worker.

The Labor Management Relations Board meets as needed to deal with the issues involving county workers and management. The matter now before the board involves a petition filed Sept. 20 by some Chaves County Sheriff’s law enforcement employees to be represented by the International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO.

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Chaves County Manager Stan Riggs said that, once the board has three members, it probably will hold a couple of meetings to handle procedural issues. Then board members will verify signed authorization cards to see if at least 30 percent of eligible Sheriff’s department employees have agreed to hold an election. A simple majority of the estimated 34 deputies, sergeants, detectives and animal control officers will have to vote for the union for it to have authority to represent them in collective bargaining negotiations concerning salaries, benefits or other work-related issues.

The petition filed by Carlsbad attorney W.T. Martin included an exhibit showing 19 signed authorization cards, which would be 56 percent of eligible employees.

Riggs also indicated at the Thursday meeting that no other groups had come forward to claim its representation of Chaves County law enforcement employees by the deadline given in a posted notice, clearing the way for consideration of representation by the International Union of Police Associations.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.