Farmington — The New Mexico Public Employee Labor Relations Board is supporting a decision that the Central Consolidated School District violated its union's collective bargaining agreement and public employee bargaining act.

The board voted unanimously to uphold an Aug. 26 decision made by Thomas Griego, executive director of the state Public Employee Labor Relations Board in Albuquerque.

The Central Consolidated Education Association, which is the employee union, filed a complaint in March against the district for repeatedly violating the collective bargaining agreement and public employee bargaining act.

According to draft minutes posted from the Oct. 8 employee labor relations board meeting, the district claimed that a 2003 state law did not allow school boards authority over grievances filed by employees and school personnel.

Instead, school boards only have authority over the school superintendent, and the law allows the superintendent the power to supervise and administer all schools and personnel within the district.

The employee labor relations board sided with Griego's decision that the district will follow the grievance procedure as outlined in the collective bargaining agreement, including the appeals process by an employee to the CCSD school board and review of employee grievances by the school board.

"We have no response to this," CCSD spokesman James Preminger said about the board's decision.

The employee labor relations board also agreed that the district violated the public employee bargaining act by refusing to bargain over the working conditions of new foreman positions in Shiprock.

In addition, the board stated that the district violated the collective bargaining agreement when hiring an individual for the vacant maintenance foreman position in Shiprock.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, vacant positions are to be advertised internally and then candidates are interviewed and assessed before the position is opened to external candidates.

But this process was not followed, and the employee labor relations board concurred with Griego's decision.

"It appears to be undisputed that the position was posted internally and externally at the same time and all candidates were interviewed and processed together. To the extent the proper process per contract was not followed I concur that the employer violated the CBA (collective bargaining agreement)," Griego wrote in his decision.

After Griego made his decision in August, the district appealed to the full board.

In a press release, the union and the National Education Association of New Mexico stated its satisfaction with the outcome and "hopes that this ruling will restore a better working relationship with the district for the future."

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636. nsmith@daily-times.com Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.