By SARAH PALERMO Monitor staff
Thursday, December 27, 2012
(Published in print: Friday, December 28, 2012)
The state labor relations board ruled Wednesday the town of Pittsfield must reimburse full-time employees for overtime shifts that were given to per-diem or part-time employees, and for private detail work the town refused to schedule, violations of the full-time employees’ contract and state law.
No officials contacted yesterday could estimate how much that might cost the town, but in the ruling, the labor board noted at least $2,900 of overtime pay lost by the town’s two police sergeants. The ruling also cites $3,900 in detail income earned by the two sergeants and the police chief in three months of 2011.
The board also scolded town officials for instituting a policy prohibiting employees from speaking publicly or writing letters about town business. The selectmen reversed the policy after a month, but during that time, employees “reasonably felt coerced and intimidated,” hearing officer Karina Mozgovaya wrote.
Detail work and overtime are allowed under the employees’ contract, which voters approved at town meeting in March. Voters at the meeting also cut $125,000 from the budget, which prompted selectmen to prohibit private details and overtime for police officers, firefighters and EMTs in an effort to meet the new bottom line.