Police Department Not Allowed To Change Comp Time Requests To Cash

The Village of Spring Valley, New York made the unilateral decision to convert three police officers’ overtime requests from compensatory time to cash. The Rockland County Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which represents the Village’s police officers, challenged the Village’s decision in arbitration. The Village argued that the entire issue was “moot” because the officers cashed their overtime checks, which included the payments for overtime work. An arbitrator was unconvinced, finding that “only the Association, not the officers, could waive any benefits under the overtime article. Furthermore, acceptance of the checks did not signify the officers’ acquiescence to the employer’s position.”

On the merits of the grievance, the Arbitrator found that the contract clearly allowed officers the option of electing compensatory time off in lieu of overtime. That the officers may have wanted compensatory time off in anticipation of future step increases which would make the comp time more valuable was irrelevant, the Arbitrator concluded, given the contract’s clear grant to officers of the right to choose the form of payment of overtime.

Village of Spring Valley, LAIG 6645 (Edelman, 2008).

This article appears in the December 2008 issue