Deputy chiefs, majors entitled to overtime, arbitrator rules
Deputy chiefs and majors in the Oklahoma City Police Department are entitled to overtime pay under terms of the city's contract with the police union, an arbitrator said this week.
The arbitrator, though, declined to order that the officers, all high-ranking supervisors, receive back pay.
Departmental practice has for decades limited overtime eligibility to ranks below major. With the passage of time, that practice effectively became part of the contract, attorneys for the city said.
However, arbitrator M. Zane Lumbley said he agreed with the union that higher-ranking officers were entitled, under the "clear language" of the contract, to the same overtime benefits as other officers.
The contract provides that officers authorized to work overtime be paid time-and-a-half for hours worked beyond their regular schedules.
City Manager Craig Freeman had not discussed the arbitrator's award with his staff and did not have a comment on Thursday.
John George, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 123, said the union still had questions about the award.
“We are pleased that it addressed the overtime issue by saying majors and deputy chiefs should be paid overtime for any hours worked outside their normal shift," he said.
But, he said, those high-ranking supervisors "in essence" are scheduled for nine-hour days but only paid for eight. George said the award "did not address" that part of the FOP's grievance.
He said the union has asked the arbitrator to revisit it and make a ruling.
The FOP filed a grievance under terms of the contract on March 20, 2018.
After former City Manager Jim Couch denied the grievance on April 19, the union took the dispute to arbitration.
The four deputy chiefs filed an ethics complaint against Chief Bill Citty, claiming they were threatened with retaliation if they went ahead with the grievance. The city auditor found the complaint was unsubstantiated.