As Shiloh knows, precise contract language doesn't work well anymore in a changing, challenging economy.
The village is facing a union grievance because what started out as a temporary solution to a staffing shortage has become a permanent change in patrol shifts.
The police chief says he needs the flexibility to staff the department in ways that best serve village residents, and the contract allows start times to be adjusted "due to the needs of the department." The union obviously disagrees.
We're not sure which interpretation is correct in 2012, but we do hope the village and union can find a way to settle this dispute without a protracted, pricey formal grievance. New contract terms are going to have to be negotiated anyway; the current contract ends on April 30.
The Police Department's staffing issues will only become more pronounced if the fight over shifts cannot be resolved quickly and amicably.