In 2005, the Police Chief of the Brockton, Massachusetts Police Department issued an order prohibiting overlapping court and other overtime payments for the same time period. The Brockton Police Association challenged the Chief’s order in arbitration.
An arbitrator upheld the grievance. The Arbitrator concluded that the contract language governing court overtime minimum payments and general overtime were clear and unambiguous, and allowed for overlapping payments. Because the Arbitrator concluded that the contract language was unambiguous, he felt no need to resort to an examination of bargaining history or past practice.
The Arbitrator also believed the City could remedy much of the problem through its own scheduling practices: “Supervisors can easily avoid overlapping payments by not scheduling overtime until the end of the three-hour period in which a court appearance takes place. If an officer is scheduled in an overlapping situation, the officer must be paid the court and overtime minimum payments lest he be denied the benefit of his contractual bargain.”
City of Brockton, Massachusetts and Brockton Police Association, LAIG 6453 (Boulanger, 2006).
The article appears in our April 2007 issue.