Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2007

Police overtime policy kept as is

July 26, 2007

dora Police Chief Greg Dahlem approached the Eudora City Council Monday to request a change in the city's overtime policy.

He requested the city pay police officers an overtime rate of time-and-a-half for each hour worked over their standard 12-hour shift.

The current policy dictates overtime is paid as an officer reaches the maximum hours allowed in a given pay period. The officers currently operate under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The department falls under the FLSA regulations because the city employs more than five full-time officers.

After explaining the situation to the council, Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty suggested the council deny Dahlem's request.

"It's what I call an extreme benefit. It's not something that's normal," Beatty said. "That's why I oppose this."

The request is strictly a policy measure, Beatty said.

"We will do whatever you decide," she said.

The city does pay other employees overtime on a per shift basis currently. But that could change by the end of the year if the city adopts a new set of employee policies, Beatty said. Those polices still are being drafted, she said.

"If we do it for the police department, we have to do it for every department," Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle said.

The police officer's standard 12-hour shift seems like a long time, utility and payroll clerk Renee Shackelford said.

"I don't see why they wouldn't be treated just a little bit different, because they do work the 12-hour shifts," Shackelford said.

The city could save money by cutting back the extreme benefit of paying overtime after each shift, Beatty said.

"I'm just trying to get back to some normalcy rather than go to the extreme end," Beatty said.

Next year's budget is a matter of cutting and cutting to free up money, Beatty said.

"I don't have a tree in the backroom that grows it and neither do our citizens," Beatty said. "What I'm trying to emphasize is that we have to be very careful with our money."

The city's current policy for the officers gives supervisors the ability to use to flex time to help control overtime costs, Beatty said.

If a worker spends more time on an allotted shift, the flextime allows the worker to come in later or leave earlier the following day, Beatty said.

Dahlem's request wouldn't allow for that option, Beatty said.

"I think if we make a policy, everyone needs to be the same," Councilman Fred Stewart said.

The council decided to take no action, in effect leaving the current pay policy as is.

"I feel like it's fair," Councilwoman Maria Nelson said. "We're not taking overtime away overall, by any means."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.