Paterson Top Stories

City Council Hires Auditor to Help Fight PBA Lawsuit on Overtime

December 19, 2012 at 8:52 AM

 

PATERSON, NJ – In effort to fend off a lawsuit filed by the Policemen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), the City Council on Tuesday night decided to conduct an audit of the Paterson police department’s payroll and overtime.

The lawsuit stems from the council’s decision earlier this year to hold back about $269,000 in police overtime on the argument that the administration had not provided documentation to substantiate the payments. After a three-month freeze, the council relented in June and signed off on the payments, a decision reached under the pressure of a federal lawsuit filed by the police union.

Sign Up for E-News

The litigation continues because the union is seeking damages for the delayed payments as well as changes in the city’s overtime approval process.

“It’s not only the damages, we want to make sure this doesn’t happen again,’’ said Alex Cruz, president of Paterson PBA, Local #1. Cruz referred other questions about the lawsuit to the union’s lawyers.

Councilman Kenneth Morris said he thought lawsuit was an attempt by the union to undermine the council’s ability to oversee overtime and other police department spending. “I’m fearful of the fact that this about diluting the authority and the power of the legislative body when it comes to the purse-strings of the city,’’ Morris said.

Part of the reason the council withheld the $269,000 in police overtime earlier this year was in response to police officers’ refusal at that time to participate in the council’s inquiry on city overtime spending during the historic 2011 floods. In fact, for a five-month period from November 2011 until March 2012 the council refused to approve a separate batch of $209,000 in overtime for police officers and other city employees for hours they say worked in the aftermath of the flooding.

Council members have complained that there are not enough checks and balances to ensure the authenticity of the police overtime. They questioned the overtime process during the floods and how various officers were picked for extra duty. Council members said there were apparent inequities in the distribution of the overtime.

PatersonPress.com found city records that showed one police officer was paid for working 18 hours of overtime on six consecutive days during the flooding.

During the 2012 fiscal year, Paterson spent $1.6 million on police overtime, about $314,000 more than what had been budgeted, according to city records.  Preliminary figures for the 2013 budget put police overtime at $1.7 million.

Councilman William McKoy, an auditor by trade, has argued that the police department’s overtime monitored more closely by city financial officials. McKoy on Tuesday night called the PBA’s lawsuit “selfish” and “greedy.” He said the litigation would create “additional burden to an overtaxed community” because the police officers’ “ice wasn’t cold enough.’’ He called the lawsuit “an affront to the council.’’

On Tuesday, the council approved a $15,000 increase in its auditing contract with the firm of Donohue, Gironda & Doria to review the police overtime and payroll records.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

Upcoming Events

Sat, October 8, 10:00 AM

Montclair High School, LGI Room, Montclair

Road Map to College: College Admission and ...

Education Other

Carousel_image_0dbef356adb362d03387_pmp-2015-07c-300x260__1_

Sun, October 23, 3:00 PM

River Dell High School Auditorium, Oradell

Adelphi Orchestra - Slavic Celebration: Young ...

Arts & Entertainment

Parents are the Only Hope for NJ Public Education

September 25, 2016

I really wanted to take one of my precious few PTO days I had left to drive down to Trenton on September 7th and tell the State Board of Education how disappointed I was in them, again.... but more important things were going on. There was a Kindergarten bus to catch and a first day of school morning to have and I had already wasted 2 of those precious days on a state BOE that has all but ignored ...

Letting the Jean-ie Out of the Bottle

Sometime between the end of last spring and the beginning of this fall, someone snuck into my closet and shrunk all my jeans.  I tried to convince my husband that we had a problem with the dryer, but since all of his jeans still fit, it was a hard sell.  Without thinking it through, he scoffed and suggested that maybe it wasn't the jeans – maybe it was ...

Bane Haunted House Opens its Doors this Weekend

September 24, 2016

LIVINGSTON, NJ - Halloween is just around the corner, and for those who get a thrill from being scared—Bane Haunted House opened its doors this weekend, and will remain open through Halloween. According to Jennifer Condron, who owns the attraction with her husband John, Bane is one of the first such attractions in NJ to open this early.

Bane, which is ADA accessible, will be open on ...

First-Ever Komen Giving Day Set for Sept. 29

September 28, 2016

Susan G. Komen North Jersey, along with former New York Giant, Charles Way and his wife Tahesha Way, Miss New Jersey USA, Mrs. New Jersey America and Students for the Cure Jr. Chair, Mady are asking their supporters to join them to help kick off October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, by making a donation and committing to be More Than Pink.

So often, Breast Cancer Awareness ...