Cops lose on stand-by pay bid E-mail
Written by APB Staff   

In Texas, McAllen police officers are not owed thousands of dollars in back pay for hours they spent on-call, a Hidalgo County jury ruled recently. Forty-four members of the city’s largest police union sued the city back in 2001, claiming officials should have paid them at the same rate as other municipal employees assigned to jobs that required them to come into work at a moment’s notice.

But after less than two hours of deliberations, jurors sided with the city’s argument that stand-by duty is an inherent part of police work that officers are already compensated for in their salaries.

The stand-by pay case, which lingered on state district-court dockets for seven years, stemmed from a policy that was in effect between 1997 and 2000 giving six paid hours to city employees for every week they spent on-call, whether they worked or not.

Employees from departments such as parks and recreation and public utilities are often placed on standby duty to handle emergencies that might come up outside business hours.

Police, however, received no compensation for on-call time even though their policy manual did not specifically bar them from eligibility.

The city changed its policy in 2001 to block officers from receiving the pay perk.

“We couldn’t get the jury to agree with us,” union attorney Bobby Garcia told the Monitor newspaper. “We gave it our best shot.”

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