7 CIR 116 (1983)


LODGE NO. 17, | REP. DOC. NO. 168
Plaintiff, |
Defendant. |

Appearances :

For the Plaintiff: Dennis M. Connolly

335 American National Building

8990 West Dodge Road

Omaha, NE 68114

For the Defendant: Kelley Baker

Nelson & Harding

P.O. Box 82028

Lincoln, NE 68501-2028

Before : Judges Orr, Gradwohl, and Davis

ORR, J :

This matter comes before the Commission on Plaintiff's Petition for Representation. The unit claimed appropriate by Plaintiff is "all the employees who are in a position or classification subordinate to the Dodge County Sheriff."

The Plaintiff and Defendant stipulated that the Sheriff has one confidential secretary and that the Chief Deputy is a supervisor.

The Plaintiff and Defendant stipulated that the only issue in dispute is whether or not the three Sergeants are supervisors and should therefore be included or excluded from the bargaining unit.

The controlling principles concerning status as a supervisor were first stated by the Supreme Court of Nebraska in City of Grand Island v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, 186 Neb. 711, 715-716, 185 N.W.2d 860, 863-64 (1971), as follows:

"The federal law excludes supervisors from employee units, and it is generally held that supervisors should not be included in a collective bargaining unit. See 48 Am. Jur.2d, Labor and Labor Relations , §454, p. 331. Supervisors are defined in the federal laws as any individual having authority in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees, or responsibly to direct them, or to adjust their grievances, or effectively to recommend such action, if in connection with the foregoing the exercise of such authority is not of merely routine or clerical nature, but requires the use of independent judgment. Title 29 U.S.C.A., §152 (11), p. 233; 48 Am. Jur.2d Labor and Labor Relations, §422, p. 306.


"The record shows that the captains have general charge of the personnel assigned to their station, and in the event of an alarm are in command until relieved by a superior officer. The lieutenants have similar authority but are not usually in charge of a station. In this respect it may be said that the captains and lieutenants have authority to "responsibly direct" the other firefighters. Although the captains and lieutenants have no authority, generally, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline the other firefighters, it is not essential that they possess such authority to be classified as supervisors."

The Dodge County Sheriffs Department has three Sergeants. Two of the Sergeants are Road Patrol Sergeants and act as shift commanders. They are in charge of the shifts from 4 p.m. to midnight and midnight to 8 a.m. The Sheriff is in charge of the day shift from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Chief Deputy works either the day shift from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or the morning shift, from 4 a.m. to noon and is in charge of the shift when the Sheriff is not on-duty. The third Sergeant is similar to a Chief of Detectives and works the day shift. All three of the Sergeants report to the Sheriff and/or the Chief Deputy.

In the record we find that the two Road Patrol Sergeants are shift commanders with two to four Deputies and two Dispatcher/Jailers working each shift. The Road Patrol Sergeants are responsible for the Deputies on their shifts and for assigning their work schedules. The Road Patrol Sergeants use their own independent judgment in carrying out their responsibilities and duties. They use their own discretion as to whether to take charge of investigations on their shift. If the investigation is of a serious felony such as an armed robbery or murder, the Road Patrol Sergeant is expected to contact the Sheriff and/or Chief Deputy. If the felony is a first degree assault or a fatal accident, for example, then the Road Patrol Sergeant usually waits until morning to contact the Sheriff and/or Chief Deputy. The Road Patrol Sergeants have the responsibility to call up Reserve Officers (parttime officers or volunteers) when they are needed and to responsibly direct them.

In the record we find that the other Sergeant has two Investigators as his assistants. He assigns the work to these two assistants. This Sergeant uses his independent judgment in carrying out his responsibilities and duties. He is responsible for training the investigators.

Based on an examination of the record we find the two Road Patrol Sergeants and the other Sergeant responsibly direct other employees and should be classified as supervisory personnel and excluded from the employee bargaining unit.


1. That the Commission has determined the appropriate bargaining unit to be:

All employees of the Dodge County Sheriffs Department excluding the Sheriff, Chief Deputy, Sheriffs Secretary and Sergeants.

2. That an election within the above determined unit shall be held as soon as possible. Judge Jeffrey L. Orr is appointed as the Commission's Representative for such election. Jerry L. Pigsley is appointed hearing examiner to determine initially all questions arising during the course of the election. The election shall be under the immediate supervision of the Clerk of the Commission. The parties shall confer with the Clerk to agree upon or have determined all questions concerning the election not provided for in Rule 9.

All Judges assigned to the panel in this matter join in the entry of the Opinion and Order.

Filed July 7, 1983