By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO The Village of Monticello’s police union the Policemen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) is taking the village to court over allegations of unpaid overtime.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in September, the PBA claims the village board owed officers time-and-a-half for any work beyond 40 hours a week or 80 hours every two weeks.
On May 17, 2011, the board voted 4-1 (with Trustee Carmen Rue opposed) to stop paying overtime, on the basis that it had not yet signed a pending memorandum of agreement with the PBA, which represents the department’s two dozen officers (minus the police chief).
The PBA is alleging the federal Fair Labor Standards Act is the authority on the matter, guaranteeing overtime to the officers.
The officers began serving 12-hour shifts in January 2010, accruing four overtime hours for each biweekly pay period. Up until May 17, they were compensated via cash for the first two hours, then comp time for the second two hours.
The two hours of comp time, however, were provided at straight pay, said the PBA, rather than the overtime rate, which should have translated to three hours.
After the May 17 resolution rescinding overtime, officers have been undercompensated by .5 times their regular rate for four hours each biweekly pay period, according to the PBA.
However, the PBA indicated it has yet to obtain members’ employment records in order to calculate the exact amount each officer is owed.
So it’s asking the court to demand those documents and then to give the officers the overtime they believe they are guaranteed, plus attorney’s fees, damages, and interest.
But at Tuesday’s regular board meeting, Village Manager John LiGreci insisted the board never agreed to guarantee overtime.
“Did you read the contract?” Rue asked LiGreci.
After some back and forth, Deputy Mayor TC Hutchins said both Rue and LiGreci were correct, in that the board agreed to a contract with the PBA but never intended to guarantee a set amount of overtime.
After the meeting, LiGreci said a judgment against the village could cost it $87,000 more per year in overtime costs, though he reiterated that no guarantee was made, at least in writing.
“We have nothing in resolution form,” he explained. “It doesn’t exist.”
Police Chief Doug Solomon declined to comment, as it is a union matter, and PBA officials could not be reached.
For now, the matter is in the hands of the village’s insurer, said LiGreci.