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Published: Thursday, 3/4/2010

Arbitrator to consider job changes for Toledo police

Wagner Wagner
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An arbitrator soon will consider a union grievance that could amount to more than $300,000 of additional in-kind expenses for Toledo for how it covered the temporary void left by 75 police layoffs last year.

The Toledo Police Patrolman's Association contends that 50 officers should be compensated for being taken off their usual assignments on the day shift, several from their roles as property detectives and from the disbanded crime analysis unit.

The layoffs began May 1.

The grievance filed last year is headed for an arbitration hearing to be scheduled by May, union President Dan Wagner said.

"This grievance, it's pretty big for the guys that had their lives changed midyear," Mr. Wagner said.

Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre said day-shift officers were reassigned because he didn't need them on days.

"All the people I was losing were coming off afternoons and midnights," the chief said.

Both sides expect the dispute will be settled with the equivalent of vacation, sick, or compensatory time rather than cash.

About 10 years ago, the city lost a similar dispute with the union regarding changed work shifts. The arbitrator ordered the city to compensate officers with four hours of vacation time per- day when the alternate shift was worked.

The union offered to settle the most recent grievance for a combination of vacation and compensatory time, Mr. Wagner said.

The city rejected the settlement because compensatory time can be immediately exchanged for cash, and sick time may also be cashed out at full value upon retirement, Chief Navarre said. Vacation time may not be cashed out under the union contract.

With the 50 officers having worked between 11 and 140 days on different shifts at an hourly rate of $26.80, the city could end up paying time equivalent to $315,060, the chief estimates.

Funding for any award resulting from the grievance would be taken from the city's general fund, which is $48 million in the red.

"The city doesn't have money to offer right now," Chief Navarre said.

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