By Polly Keary, Editor
The state will pay about $350,000 to four prison workers who were fired or demoted following the murder of prison corrections officer Jayme Biendl by an inmate in January of 2011.
After Biendl’s death, the Department of Corrections conducted an investigation into the practices of the prison and the actions of the employees that night.
They concluded that three officers and a sergeant had either made false statements or inadequately followed safety rules, or both. The three officers were fired, and the sergeant was demoted.
But Teamsters 117, which represents the workers, filed a grievance, contesting the sanctions.
July 7, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the four prison workers, saying that while each of them had been at fault, none of their actions had been serious enough to warrant job loss or demotions.
Rather, he ruled, the prison should have taken other corrective measures before progressing to such severe punitive measures.
He ruled that all four should be restored to their former positions, and be compensated for all lost wages and benefits.
One of the officers has returned to work. Another has taken a job in another correctional facility. A third is negotiating with the state. The sergeant was restored to his former position.
The sum of money is not to be shared equally, but apportioned based on the amount each would have earned had the job losses not taken place in November of 2011, said Norah West, a spokesperson for the DOC.