The Chief
February 3, 2006

NYPD Must Pay Overtime To Post-9/11 Detail

Big Payday for 35

By REUVEN BLAU

An arbitrator has ruled that the Police Department failed to pay thousands of dollars in overtime to Headquarters Security Detail officers over a two-year period beginning shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.

Office of Collective Bargaining arbitrator John E. Sands concluded that the NYPD must compensate the improperly rescheduled officers for all the hours they worked outside their normal tours.

Get $40,000 Apiece

Each of the 35 officers affected by the decision will receive approximately $40,000 in back pay, according to the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

In the wake of Sept. 11, the NYPD suspended its duty chart and assigned Police Officers to 12-hour tours. The department has the ability to temporarily suspend the work chart in emergency situations to increase manpower.

During that period, officers were paid overtime for all the hours they worked that exceeded the length of their pre-9/11 tours of duty, and also for their extra days of work.

On Oct. 14, 2001, the department went back to its regular tour schedules, but officers securing 1 Police Plaza continued to work 12-hour shifts without being paid the overtime rate or a night differential.

"They treated them as if their chart remained suspended," said David Nicholson, a PBA attorney. "The department completely failed to follow its own procedures."

The NYPD now has the ability to reschedule 15 tours without paying officers the overtime rate. Normally, the department is required to give officers 24 hours' notice before changing their tours.

PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said the arbitrator's decision should teach the city a lesson. "It should show the city that they shouldn't violate the rules in place, because in the long run it will cost them more money," he said.

Ticket Quota Win

The decision was the second arbitration victory for the PBA in a two-week span. A different arbitrator found that the NYPD violated state labor law by requiring officers to meet traffic summons quotas in a Brooklyn precinct.

The arbitrator, Bonnie Siber Weinstock, concluded that the department imposed monthly, quarterly and annual traffic summons quotas. "The city should cease and desist from maintaining a vehicular ticket quota," Ms. Weinstock ordered.

The finding was notable because the PBA has been arguing for years that an illegal quota system exists. The union has charged that officers who fail to meet set standards are transferred, reassigned, lose overtime, or are passed over for favorable assignments.

"If there were adequate numbers of Police Officers on the street then precinct commanders wouldn't have to resort to illegal summonses quotas," Mr. Lynch said.

Paul J. Browne, the NYPD's chief spokesman, noted that the grievance was filed by the PBA after the department transferred or reassigned 13 officers in the 75th Precinct in Brooklyn because of overall poor performance. "The arbitrator concluded that none of the officers were transferred or reassigned based solely on their lack of summons activity," he said.

Precinct commanders, Mr. Browne stressed, would still set productivity goals. But he noted that the precinct's commanders have been instructed not to use specific quotas for summonses.

"However, nothing in the ruling prevents police commanders from establishing productivity goals that include summons activity," he said. "In fact, commanders will be expected to do so."

Mr. Lynch replied, "They call it a goal, but if you add discipline to it, it becomes a quota."