By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – The Ashwaubenon Public Safety Officers’ Association (APSOA) will not seek an arbitration hearing before the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission after the village board last month denied a grievance involving a traffic pursuit.
The board’s action was the third step in the grievance process the village has with the union following denials by Public Safety Chief Brian Uhl and Village Manager Joel Gregozeski.
The final step would have been to request a hearing with the WERC, but the APSOA’s attorney, Aaron Halstead, said Monday, July 12, the union did not make that request.
Gregozeski also confirmed the union did not notify the village in writing within 15 days after the board denied the grievance June 22 to request arbitration.
The grievance involved a letter of reprimand officer Mackenzie Teske received after being found to have violated department policy for a March 24 pursuit he was involved in, causing damage to a squad vehicle and private property.
The union sought to remove the letter from Teske’s personnel file by arguing there was no just cause for the discipline.
He is not eligible for promotions or special positions for a year within the department.
According to documents related to the grievance, Uhl determined Teske violated the pursuit policy by engaging in a pursuit for a retail theft offense.
Documents contained in the grievance state dash camera footage showed the suspect Teske pursued drove at higher rates of speed, driving left of center, failing to stop at controlled intersections and eventually leaving the road and driving through private property.
“PSO Teske pursued the suspect at alternating speeds up to 40 to 60 mph,” Gregozeski said in his letter denying the grievance.
“Furthermore, PSO Teske followed the suspect off the road and onto private property, causing damage to the squad vehicle and private property as a result.”
Teske was also found to have violated the pursuit policy Dec. 20, 2020, for which he received a non-disciplinary letter of counseling after officers didn’t receive training for the policy change, which took effect last fall.
APSOA President Eric Paulowski and Teske both told the board last month a policy violation occurred related to the March 24 pursuit.
However, Paulowski said the non-disciplinary counseling letter Teske received for the December pursuit was being used as progressive discipline.
Gregozeski said he determined the March 24 pursuit, on its own, warranted a letter of reprimand, after Teske received training on the policy change, regardless of the letter of counseling previously issued.