Grievance filed over police pay
Oklahoma City's police union has renewed a grievance seeking back pay for majors and deputy chiefs.
The yearlong dispute over overtime policies led to acrimony in the top ranks of the Police Department and an ethics complaint against Chief Bill Citty by his top deputies.
Citty was cleared by the city auditor, who found the complaint was unsubstantiated, but Citty announced soon afterward that he would retire. His retirement is effective next week.
Depending on the outcome, back pay owed by the city could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
An arbitrator decided last month that majors and deputy chiefs, the highest-ranking supervisors in the department besides the chief, were entitled to overtime under the union contract.
The city had argued they were exempt under decades-long policy and practice.
However, the union said the arbitrator was unclear on whether scheduling those high-ranking supervisors for nine-hour days but only paying for eight was a contract violation.
In the new grievance, dated April 11, the union says those officers are entitled to back pay at overtime rates for that hour and are entitled to an hour per day of overtime going forward.
It says the chief's decision, announced in a March 25 memo, to give those officers an hour off for lunch each day amounts to a change in working conditions that must be negotiated.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 123 President John George said most officers are scheduled for eight- or 10-hour workdays and, according to the contract, are free to grab lunch during their shift if they have time.
The regular schedule for majors and deputy chiefs is nine hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and they are paid for eight hours, or 2,088 hours per year. Until the arbitrator's decision, they could not earn overtime.
After the decision, Citty issued a directive on how overtime would be handled. He said:
• Majors' overtime would be approved by deputy chiefs or the chief; the chief would approve deputy chiefs' overtime.
• Majors and deputy chiefs could choose comp time rather than overtime pay, or work out a flex time agreement.
Citty said he was pre-authorizing overtime for majors and deputy chiefs for incidents or events including officer-involved shootings, serious injuries to an officer, serious officer-involved accidents and weather.
Those categories would include incidents like the one last Friday when the driver of a pickup fled a traffic stop and ran a stop sign in southwest Oklahoma City, resulting in an accident that killed a woman and her 8-year-old daughter.