Former Nye County District Attorney employee Ronni Boskovich and the Nye County Management Employees Association have filed a complaint with the Nevada Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board against Nye County following Boskovich’s termination from her position in late April.
In preparation to fight back, the Nye County Commission recently approved a request to retain counsel, with Las Vegas-based law firm Marquis Aurbach Coffing selected.
The attorney fee agreement outlines a fee rate of $225 per hour for work performed by law firm partners and $200 per hour for work performed by its associates. The county must also cover all additional costs, such as filing fees, mailing fees, etc. The costs are to be covered by the Nye County contingency fund.
The complaint was filed on April 25 and details the background surrounding the situation.
In the document, filed under Case No. 2019-007, it states that in February 2018, Nye County deputy district attorneys in the criminal division decided to organize for the purposes of collective bargaining and then made a request to be included in the existing Nye County Management Employees Association.
“Nye County by its actions did recognize the NCMEA (Nye County Management Employees Association) as the criminal division deputy district attorneys’ bargaining representative,” the complaint reads. “Specifically, notwithstanding its initial position that the deputy district attorneys should be their own bargaining unit, Nye County did in fact negotiate with the NCMEA with regard to subjects of bargaining…”
Following this, the director of emergency management for Nye County resigned from his post and the county then decided it wished to remove that position from the management employees union. In order to work out a deal, the management employees union agreed to allow that position to be removed in exchange for approval to add the deputy district attorneys to the bargaining unit.
A settlement agreement and memorandum of understanding were executed, the complaint declares, necessitating what were described as “minor changes” to the existing bargaining agreement, changes that must be approved by the Nye County Commission before they can become effective.
The settlement agreement and associated union agreement changes went before the commission in November 2018 and were approved. However, immediately following that vote, the commission took a second vote and decided to table the matter until a future time. The commission is now refusing to approve that settlement agreement, the complaint contends.
“The deputy district attorneys practicing criminal law must either be part of the NCMEA or their own bargaining unit,” the complaint states. “This issue is currently pending before this board in Case No. 2018-012.”
The document states that Boskovich spoke before the employee relations board on April 9, giving testimony in Case No. 2018-012. At that hearing, she testified in favor of the inclusion of deputy district attorneys in the county management employees union. Just two weeks later, Nye County District Attorney Chris Arabia gave Boskovich her walking papers and the complaint states that she was not provided with any reason as to why she was being dismissed.
Furthermore, the complaint alleges that the act of firing her was retaliatory as well as inappropriate, arguing that she had the right to union representation in any such action.
“Once employees have voted to unionize and be represented, an employer may not unilaterally discipline or discharge an employee without first negotiating with their designated bargaining representative. This bar on discipline without negotiation applies even if a first bargaining agreement has not yet been reached,” the complaint asserts, also stating, “The dismissal of Ronni Boskovich 13 days after she testified in favor of unionization and the NCMEA further violates NRS…”
Boskovich is requesting that the Nevada Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board find that Nye County has “engaged in one or more prohibited labor practices” and have these findings posted in a public place, along with a statement that the county will not do so in the future.
It is also requested that the relations board order Nye County to allow deputy district attorneys to participate in the management employees union. Finally, Boskovich requests an order that would reinstate her employment, with retroactive back pay and benefits.
Nye County will be filing its response to the complaint in the near future.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at email@example.com