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Midway police aim to unionize

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By Robert Allen

The city of Midway held a special meeting May 6 to discuss the police department’s interest in unionization. 

“It would allow me to do my job that much better,” said Jerome Turner, chief of the Midway Police Department. “It would polarize a lot of the decisions I have to make.”

Turner said a more “black and white” code of policies and procedures would be helpful when dealing with decisions that might be controversial. 

A press release issued by Leslie Steele, president of Steele Communications, on the day of the meeting, said Dot Inman-Johnson called the city together in an effort to prohibit the police department’s unionization. 

In a later Times interview, Inman-Johnson said this was not true. She said she does not appose the police department’s interest in unionization. She described Steele as “the mouthpiece for negativity in Midway.” 

“The woman does not have a close relationship with the truth,” Inman-Johnson said.

According to the city manager, she only did her job: review the petitions delivered by the police department and respond to them within 20 days, 

addressing any questions and concerns she might uncover regarding the proper procedure for such a process. 

“I’m a big union person, myself, as a teacher for 28 years,” said Inman-Johnson, noting she was not only a member but also a leader in the teachers’ union. “I would be the last to prevent people from exercising their right to unionize.”

Inman-Johnson said her only misgivings so far regard the eligibility for certain members of the department to unionize. According to the city manager, the union precludes membership for ranks of authority and part-time members of the force. 

Turner, on the other hand, said he thought all members of the police department would be able to have union representation. 

According to Inman-Johnson, if enough petitions pass, a hearing will be held to determine the police department’s next step.