As we come to the end of 2021, PERC continues to operate remotely and conduct all events virtually as it has done since March 2020. We do not have a date set for either reopening the office or resuming in-person events. Because we can offer all our services virtually, and in order to ensure the health and safety of our staff, PERC will not rush to resume in-person events.
In my last message, I described a new process for arbitrations of disciplinary grievances for law enforcement personnel. Legislation passed in 2021 requires the Commission to maintain a roster of 9 to 18 arbitrators to conduct these arbitrations. PERC is also required to develop training on racism, implicit bias, cultural diversity, and the daily experiences of a law enforcement officer to be taken by appointees to the roster. Appointments of arbitrators to hear these types of cases will come from the roster and be made by PERC on a rotating alphabetical basis. In August 2021, the Commission appointed 18 arbitrators to the roster. Training on racism, implicit bias, and cultural diversity will occur in March 2022, and we are finalizing the opportunities for training on the daily experiences of a law enforcement officer. To see the list of arbitrators appointed by the Commission, click here.
In 2018, we began a process to review our current rules and suggest changes that would modernize and streamline the rules as well as address areas of concern. We worked with staff and clientele to review the proposed changes for input and feedback. We are now in the process of doing the same with the Commission. Once we have shared all the proposed changes with the Commission for its review, input, and feedback, we will review and make any necessary adjustments. We hope that the final proposals will go to the Commission for adoption by spring 2022.
I am excited to share a new development in the Negotiation Project. Launched in September 2020, the Negotiation Project is an innovative conflict prevention program that explores how academic theories and research about negotiation apply in Washington state public sector labor relations. Through online and eventually in-person discussions, negotiators can improve their skills and better manage conflicts. We have conducted a number of lunchtime Zoom sessions on a variety of topics. In 2022, we will launch the PERColator Podcast, which will be another format to engage clientele in the Negotiation Project and eventually other topics.
Finally, I want to thank my staff. The nature of their work is such that adaptability is a necessary skill, and it has been especially necessary during these last 21 months. Their adaptability and resilience is humbling and shows their dedication and commitment to improving the relationship between labor and management.
As always, if you have questions or feedback about our services, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Michael P. Sellars, Executive Director
Public Employment Relations Commission