By SUSAN TEBBEN
Glasgow Daily Times
A Sept. 8, 2011, strike gave Glasgow Police Department employees an opportunity to earn some off-duty overtime pay. Administrators, including Chief Guy Turcotte, took full advantage.
When a group of truck drivers from the Teamsters Local 89 union picketed in front of Irving Materials Inc. (IMI), the company called for some extra help to make sure that nothing got out of hand.
In the month of September, Turcotte took 47 hours of overtime, which were specified as “IMI detail,” according to time sheets for the month obtained by the Daily Times.
IMI subcontracted for the job through Frederick Asset Protection as the company has done in the past for circumstances like picketing. According to human resources representatives at IMI, it was Brian Frederick, owner of the security company, who contacted the GPD for officers.
“This job was no different than any other, and the overtime is according to the
policy of the police department,” Frederick said. “I talked to the chief and he volunteered to be the guy to put the schedule together.”
But Frederick and Mayor Rhonda Trautman said the work started using the state overtime rate of time-and-a-half, but it was then switched to a flat rate paid directly by Frederick. A reason for the change has not been given by the city.
The job paid a flat rate of $30 per hour for the off-duty work, and Frederick said he requested 15 to 18 officers. He said he did not request the chief of police or any certain rank of officer to be present for the shifts, which were evening to 6 a.m.
According to invoices provided to the Daily Times by the city, Frederick Asset Protection paid police a total of $11,800 in wages, retirement, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), Medicare, worker’s compensation and vehicle and gas compensation. The two invoices were dated Sept. 30 and Oct. 31.
“They were there just in case any fights broke out,” Frederick said of the police presence.
Frederick said he received calls from officers that had worked the shifts.
“They just called to say thanks because they had some extra money to spend for Christmas presents and their families,” Frederick said.
The protection company then billed IMI, which reimbursed the city. Trautman confirmed that the city had been reimbursed for the time.
According to prior police chiefs, there is no “policy” on special-duty overtime. What determines the overtime is the leader of the department.
“It was my understanding that if you’re in a position of management, you’re not supposed to take it,” said former Glasgow police chief Horace Johnson. “You can work as many or as few hours as it takes to get the job done, it’s that way everywhere I’ve worked.”
Chiefs from even farther back in the GPD history have operated the same way and have had the same experience in regards to overtime.
“Obviously your officers (who) didn’t have any rank, we usually scheduled them as much as possible for … special detail,” said former Glasgow police chief Gary Bewley. “It was a matter of economics to use [low-ranking] officers more than the higher-ranking ones.”
Bewley said administrators were used more for overtime when there was a potentially dangerous situation, or when the department simply couldn’t avoid it.
Other agencies around the area have first-come, first-serve policies when it comes to overtime. The Bowling Green Police Department gets many contracted overtime duties from the city, like basketball games and special duty details.
“Everyone is eligible,” said Officer Ronnie Ward, public information officer for the BGPD. “There is a person (who) prints out a list and puts it on the board, and then it is just whoever wants the time.”
Ward said there are some stipulations where a higher-ranking officer allows a low-ranking officer to have a shift, but the policy was all officers were eligible.
Trautman said she could not comment on the police’s overtime policies, but that the city policy was that overtime be dealt with by the individual agency and administrators are eligible for overtime.
Multiple attempts to contact Chief Guy Turcotte to ask for an explanation of his department’s policy and his time sheet record were made and not returned.