ARENAC COUNTY — Whether it was the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM) naming Sheriff Ronald Bouldin the state’s worst administrator last year or an unfair labor claim against Bouldin from the union, the history between the POAM and Bouldin has been far from sweet.
And as outgoing Arenac County Sheriff Bouldin finishes his term as the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in the county, the relationship isn’t taking a turn for the better.
Now, the POAM, which represents deputies of the sheriff’s office, is holding out on a union contract that includes a random drug-testing provision drawn up by Bouldin, in accordance with the Arenac County Board of Commissioners.
“If you’re a pizza delivery guy, you’re subject to a random drug test. … Governments all across the United States random drug test their employees,” Bouldin said. “They (POAM) don’t want to hold their membership accountable.
“All they’re doing is dodging their responsibility. … It shatters the credibility of the department,” the Sheriff added.
But Dan Kuhn, union representative for POAM members in Arenac County, says it’s not about the testing.
“There’s never been an objection to drug-testing,” Kuhn said. “It wasn’t the proposal, it’s who was proposing it. … It was opening up the local for abuse by the administration there.”
Kuhn wasn’t afraid to admit that the union’s main motivation in holding out was due to Bouldin.
“There was a real mistrust,” he said. “As long as I have an administration in that office that has honest intentions, I have no problem with it.”
But according to Kuhn, since there is mistrust, which he says doesn’t end with him; the union didn’t want to agree to terms laid out before it regarding random drug testing, especially when drug testing is already in the contract.
But Bouldin says the drug testing in the expiring contract isn’t thorough enough when compared to drug testing in other industries, which aren’t expected to enforce the law.
See more in the Oct. 15 edition of "The Arenac County Independent."