Pittsburgh is seeking to recover more than $250,000 it mistakenly provided police officers for 2019 uniform costs, but a union official on Wednesday said the city should first reimburse officers “millions” it has overcharged since 2017 in co-pays for medical benefits.
On Tuesday, the city reported its Human Resources Department overpaid 916 officers $255,476 for uniform costs and had launched an investigation to determine how the mistake happened.
Robert Swartzwelder, president of Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge 1, said the city is seeking $55 per officer each pay period over several months. Swartzwelder offered a counterproposal.
“The city can either write us a check for several million and we will write them their check for our uniform overpayment, or the city can simply deduct their quarter of a million and pay us the difference,” he said.
Tim McNulty, spokesman for Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, declined to comment.
The two sides argued over medical co-pay through union grievances, arbitration and court appeals from 2016 until December, when Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court issued a ruling in favor of the union.
It is unclear exactly how much the city overcharged because of the different benefit level costs, according to the union.
“They have to determine how many officers are in each plan and after they do that, they have to determine the cost,” Swartzwelder said. “It’s going to be millions.”