City of Hartford and AFSCME, Council 4, Local 1716
A city can have just cause to suspend a clerk who allegedly handles a taxpayer's cash, in violation of department policy that cashiers handle cash. The City of Hartford hired Mark Bibbins to work as a clerk in its tax department. On Feb. 26, 2010, Bibbins claimed that he was helping a disabled acquaintance and taking her "check" to a cashier. A supervisor objected that Bibbins handled the taxpayer's cash, which was against department policy, and that the taxpayer was required to see the cashier herself. Bibbins sent a complaint about the supervisor's conduct to the head of the tax department. Bibbins complained that the supervisor was harassing him. The department charged Bibbins with violating its procedures by handling a cash payment from a taxpayer and engaging in unacceptable and inappropriate conduct toward a supervisor. The city suspended Bibbins for five days. The union filed a grievance and argued that the city lacked just cause to suspend Bibbins and that a suspension was overly harsh. Arbitrators credited the city's evidence that Bibbins handled cash for a taxpayer, in violation of the department's policy, and that his conduct was unacceptable and merited discipline. The city carried its burden to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, it possessed just cause to issue a suspension. Lori Mizerak represented the city, and Anthony Bento represented the union.