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Aug 27, 2019 1:40 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Hampton Village And Its Dispatchers Tangled In Overtime Dispute

Aug 29, 2019 10:25 AM

East Hampton Village is taking the village's public safety officers union to court in a dispute about which employees get first dibs on overtime.

In August 2018, Village Police Chief Michael Tracey, whose department oversees the dispatchers, issued an order that dispatchers of the same rank as those they were replacing on a shift should be eligible for overtime hours, rather than giving top priority to dispatchers with the most seniority.

Before then, it had been “a long-standing practice that the most senior employee, if they’re eligible, having worked the past shift, is entitled to receive overtime if they want it,” explained Edward J. Groarke, an attorney with Colleran & O’Hara Mills in Woodbury, who is representing the union in the case.

The East Hampton Village Public Safety Dispatchers Association union, which covers the village’s 16 full-time dispatchers, immediately grieved the change and, when the grievance was not resolved, took the matter to arbitration.

During arbitration, John Capozzola, the union’s chairman, and former Village Police Chief Jerry Larsen testified that overtime assignments as far back as 2001 were prioritized by seniority, and that after that practice was overturned in August 2018, senior dispatchers were hurt by an inability to earn overtime pay.

The goal of the lawsuit, Mr. Groarke said, is to get the policy back to when it was based on seniority. If the village wanted to change that, he said, it would have to renegotiate its contract with the union, which it did not.

In May, the arbitrator, Jay Nadelbach, ruled in favor of the union, saying that senior employees should be most eligible for overtime — and that the village should pay them for the overtime they would have been entitled to if they’d been able to work that overtime in the past year.

According to Village Administrator Rebecca Molinaro Hansen, there is no set amount the arbitrator said the officers were entitled to.

On August 8, the village filed to vacate the arbitration award, saying it invalidated a police department rule. “The village will state that the case includes important public safety issues over the village’s ability to determine the appropriate rank of a dispatcher that is needed to fill a vacancy that occurs during a shift,” Ms. Hansen said as to why the village is taking the matter to court.

“This is a pending matter that will be decided by the [State] Supreme Court,” Ms. Hansen said. “The village has no additional comment on pending litigation.”

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The most overpaid employees to begin with all the perks cops get. This is a joke.
By Woods woman (145), East hampton on Aug 29, 19 11:59 AM
Read the article, not cops, Public Safety Dispatchers. And yes, we get the same perks, such as working rotating shifts, working on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other holidays, not being with our families when there is a natural disaster like hurricanes or storms, so yes, lots of perks...
By sagharbor93 (2), Sag Harbor on Aug 29, 19 2:39 PM