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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Donning and Doffing...

or show-up pay, paying officers for 15 minutes before each shift to allow time to put on their uniform. Several court decisions have determined that the Fair Labor Standards Act does not deem the practice to be mandatory unless the "those activities were an integral and indispensable part of the principal activity of the employment."

As part of the current police contract, Section 7 on page 22 [negotiations are currently taking place between the town and police union for a new contract] makes the 15 minute show-up time mandatory and also states that a lump sum check for 65 hours straight pay will be given on or about December 1 each year. Not bad...getting paid to show up for your job and to be ready to work on time.

Then there is the police chief who is not part of the collective bargaining unit. According to December 7, 2005 town board minutes:
General Municipal Law, Section 207-m: Compensation to Police Chief

Town Supervisor Humphreys initiated discussion on the recent salary payment made to Chief Philo, alleging that the Police Chief stopped by the bookkeeper’s office on Tuesday, December 6, 2005 asking for the compensation due him and presenting a letter from his attorney explaining that he was entitled to this payment. The Town Board recalled that last year the Town Supervisor had been directed to inform the bookkeeper to refrain from making any GML Section 207-m payments to the Police Chief because the Board did not agree with this provision. However, the bookkeeper did issue a Twenty-Five Hundred Dollar ($2500) check to the Police Chief and a lengthy discussion ensued. The Town Supervisor sought Town Board approval to stop payment on this check as the Bookkeeper did not have his permission to issue said check, but Councilman Butler and Councilman Waszkiewicz did not support the Supervisor’s request to stop payment due to the fact that the Supervisor has the authority to do this on his own as Chief Fiscal Officer for the Town. Councilman Backman supported the Supervisor in this matter. Town resident James Toomey commented that if the Board discussed this previously their decision would be in the minutes; Town Clerk Gail Wolanin Young said she did not recall any past discussions along these lines. The Board stated that they probably discussed it in Executive Session. Councilman Waszkiewicz wanted to have a discussion with Bookkeeper Fairbrother and Police Chief Philo to have a clear understanding of the circumstances that evolved in the issuance of this check.
General Municipal Law section 207-m states that:
whenever the base salary of the permanent full-time police officer who is a member of a negotiating unit and who is the highest ranking subordinate to the head of the police department in such unit, is increased, the salary of the permanent full-time head of the police department shall be increased by at least the same dollar amount of the increase received by such next subordinate police officer. (emphasis added).
However, Opinion 92-44 of the State Comptroller says:
the word "salary" is not defined in section 207-m. It has been generally held, however, that the word "salary" connotes fixed cash compensation paid periodically to an officer or employee, exclusive of fringe benefits.
Show-up pay is a fringe benefit defined in the collective bargaining agreement between the PBA and town. Philo, if you believe that this is the 50% of the time that the State Comptroller's opinion is correct, was not entitled to the show-up pay.

According to today's Observer Dispatch article, New Hartford cuts off Philo's 'show-up pay':
Tyksinski and some members of the Town Board say they don’t think police chiefs should be eligible for show-up pay.
However, here is the resolution that was adopted by the town board at the June 16, 2010 board meeting:
Appointment – Provisional Town Police Chief B

(RESOLUTION NO. 182 OF 2010)

RESOLVED that the New Hartford Town Board does hereby appoint Michael S. Inserra as Provisional Town Police Chief B effective June 17, 2010 and until such time that he takes, passes and is reachable on the appropriate Civil Service examination anticipated for March 2011; said appointment at an annual salary of Ninety-one Thousand Dollars ($91,000) that includes longevity pay, “show-up” pay, any type of raise that would be coming forward to 2009. Police Chief Inserra shall also be entitled to health insurance, retirement, personal time, sick leave, vacation time and other leave that might be provided in the Police Benevolent Association contract. As all department heads receive an extra five (5) vacation days annually for attending Town Board and other meetings during evening hours and/or weekends, Police Chief Inserra shall also receive these five (5) additional vacation days annually.
Here's a video of the discussion.

According to the Observer Dispatch article:
Tyksinski said there is no discrepancy at work here.
The way Inserra’s salary was calculated was mandated by state law, he said, adding that the resolution’s wording did not accurately express the town’s intent.
By saying Inserra’s salary “included” show up pay, the resolution meant to indicate that he would not be getting any more than $91,000, Tyksinski said.
“It was not to say, ‘You are getting show up pay,’” Tyksinski said. “It was, ‘You’re not getting show-up pay. Here’s your salary.’”
The question will this resolution be interpreted in the future. Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the Committee on Open Government has written many opinions stating:
minutes must be sufficiently descriptive to enable the public and others (i.e., future Town officials), upon their preparation and upon review perhaps years later, ascertain the nature of action taken by a public body, such as a town board.
If Supervisor Tyksinski and the town board did not intend to allow show-up pay for the police chief, why not amend the resolution to say the police chief will receive a $91,000 salary, plus the other benefits that were clearly stated, but he is not entitled to show-up pay? That way anyone reading the town board minutes in the future knows exactly what the intentions of this town board were when they adopted Resolution 182 of 2010.

Adding to the possible confusion in the future, the article continues:
* Timothy O’Neill might well be getting show-up pay for the time he served as acting chief from March to June of this year, despite the fact that his salary was increased for that period.

Tyksinski said there is no discrepancy at work here.
Here's the video of the discussion regarding O'Neill's non-precedent setting agreement:

Sounds like Officer O'Neill didn't like the fact that while he was Chief he didn't get paid for overtime and all the other "niceties" he received as an officer. He must have known that the Chief position was a salaried position and not covered under the union contract...that's why you got the extra salary, Officer O'Neill!

Bottom line, Philo was denied $517.01 show-up pay upon retirement, but by then he had already received $14,603 show-up pay he wasn't entitled to...some of it given to him by the bookkeeper against the wishes of Supervisor Humphreys and without the vote of the town board.

However, upon his retirement Philo took with him $67,475.20 in unused sick time and vacation pay. Somehow we doubt he was upset that he didn't get the extra $517.01 for show-up pay.

Here's the data on the buy-out for Ray Philo and Sgt. Paul Colburn.


Anonymous said...

show up pay is not for the Officers to "put on a uniform" as you put it. There is more to it that that. The officers have to go to a roll call, get shift briefings from supervisors, discuss ongoing cases with other officers, prepare the patrol vehicles with items that they will need because they are in the car all day. The officers deserve the show up pay because of this and there are many times when many have stayed over after a shift taking care of last minute things and they don't even put down for any overtime. Do you folks get two 15 minute breaks and 1 hour for lunch? Sometimes these officers don't even get a lunch because they are so busy. The Police deserve every amount of money that they get. Stop your bitching.

Anonymous said...

Coming soon to a police department near you ... wind down pay. After all, the officers need to clean out their patrol vehicles, be debriefed, discuss ongoing cases with other officers, etc. I say put a time clock in the driver seats of all patrol cars. It only activates when their butts hit the start button.

Anonymous said...

I say again stop bitching - the union negotiated with the TOWN for the pay and it is now in the contract. Not sure who the Town Supervisor was when it was put in there. Why don't you go research that. Go screw up the Libray. I don't think that any person or business is going to move to this town because of all the negative press that you and the OD is providing. How about some good news about thye Police or the Town - I'm sure that there is some - Fire Departments save a life - police assist someone in a bad car wreck. How about some good news why all the negative stuff? You website claims to be for the good of the Town of New Hartford. AND they should get paid for not using thier sick time too. keep on bitching your making the Town look bad.

New Hartford, N.Y. Online said...

Anonymous said "keep on bitching your making the Town look bad."

Really? They don't need our help to look bad...the town leaders are doing it all by themselves...we are merely exposing them.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't there been an investigation in regards to philo taking money that he was told not to ? Who the hell is carol fairbrother to issue this money after humphreys said not to. As far as I'm concerned it is grand larceny and the DA should get involved but we knbow that won't happen.

Anonymous said...

The quote from one of the councilmen about not liking the idea but he has to work with them is more upsetting than the pay..We need some people to stand up not roll over..