City wins grievance, won’t have to pay $399K

DAVENPORT, IA &#8211 The city of Davenport won’t have to pay $399,536.80 in back pay to 25 police sergeants who claimed a demoted captain was paid at his same salary until his retirement last October, triggering a union grievance.

Arbitrator James Cox, in his decision dated March 29, ruled that demoted Capt. Kevin Murphy wasn’t covered by the Davenport Union of Professional Police collective bargaining agreement; his April 29, 2011, demotion wasn’t completed; and paying sergeants more than their negotiated salary wasn’t an appropriate remedy to the grievance.

“We’re pleased with the decision of the arbitrator and hope we can put this behind us,” city attorney Tom Warner said Tuesday, after receiving the decision.

The union filed a grievance last year, claiming that sergeants should be paid at the level of captain after Murphy was demoted to sergeant for an undisclosed reason but paid at the captain’s rate until his retirement in October. The union was seeking $399,538.80 for the sergeants.

Murphy appealed the demotion, and although no hearing was held, it was active as the two sides worked for a separation agreement, Cox wrote in the decision. He also was placed on administrative leave and listed as having an on-the-job injury. Although he inquired about union representation, neither Murphy nor the union pursued it.

The arbitrator also pointed out that the union’s remedy for overpaying an employee wasn’t appropriate. Cox wrote that the union asked him to ignore contract language and seek a temporary wage increase for the time between Murphy’s demotion and his separation from the city.

“There is no precedent for such a

remedy,” he wrote.

From his experience, the arbitrator said the appropriate remedy would be to seek reimbursement from the overpaid employee.

From The Quad City Times.