Bellaire police pay questioned

BELLAIRE – Bellaire Police Chief Mike Kovalyk expressed a need to alter the recent ordinance passed by village council, detailing holiday pay specifications for village employees.

Either that, or make the department exempt from the current ordinance and return to the former method of how holiday pay is calculated and paid.

Kovalyk told council members that, as written, it doesn’t appear employees working shift work or 10-hour work days, as are commonplace with the police department, were taken into account.

“According to the ordinance, if you take a vacation or sick day before or after the holiday, you’re not compensated for the holiday pay if you’re scheduled to work,” Kovalyk said. “It’s quite confusing for the police department.”

Officer Jim Watson then spoke.

Watson explained the previously, the department was paid during holiday’s like a 50-hour pay week. If the employee was off during the holiday, they received 40 hours of regular pay, plus 10 hours of holiday pay for the holiday. If an officer worked the holiday, they received 30 hours of straight play plus 10 hours at double time and a half.

Credit was also given for the holiday, even if the officer took vacation the entire week.

Now, as Watson explained he will be doing the week of Thanksgiving, he works the day before Thanksgiving from late in the evening until 7 a.m. on Thanksgiving day. He’s off Thanksgiving and also is taking the Friday after Thanksgiving off. By doing this, he won’t receive holiday pay, despite actually working on the holiday.

“If you’re an officer worker, or a street department employee, you get the holiday off with pay. Now we’re being told if we take the day off before or after and won’t receive the holiday pay,” Watson said. “I understand what you tried to d and did, but it’s not taking into account that people that work shift work.”

Village solicitor Ed Sustersic asked council to take the matter to the ordinance committee and that anyone who disagrees with the language in the legislation to come to the meeting and try to get the matter resolved.

Kovalyk also wished to clear up any rumors going around that police department officers received a raise. They have not and Kovalyk again asked for council to come up with a solution to getting his officers a $1 an hour raise.

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