As police officers, we are continuously analyzing situations and striving to do the right thing. Whether as a patrol officer answering calls for service or a detective investigating a crime, we are committed to providing a high level of service to our community.
Many of you know that PLEA has been working with Human Resources for over a year to try to eliminate Personnel Rule 15g2. We believe it is problematic. For those who are unfamiliar with this rule, it reads as follows:
“15g2. Merit Pay Increase: Time taken on industrial leave or light duty assignment, not in excess of thirty working days, shall be allowed as creditable time in determining eligibility for a normal merit pay increase. If the time exceeds thirty days and the circumstances of the injury so warrant, the employee may receive a merit pay increase on their anniversary date with the recommendation of the department head and approval of the City Manager.”
Even though there is an antiquated personnel rule in place that provides the Department and the City an out, is that the right thing to do?
This rule applies when an officer is injured or pregnant and requests a light-duty assignment that extends longer than 30 days. In such instances, the officer’s PMG date is extended by a period equal to the time the officer worked in a modified duty assignment and their merit increase is delayed.
Here is the issue: Most officers who are in a modified duty status are working somewhere within the Department. They perform a job that the Department deems important enough to have personnel assigned to further the overall mission of the Department and, in most cases, are supervised by a sergeant. It is absurd to think that you are going to be denied your PMG and merit increase because your current work assignment is not what you were doing prior to the pregnancy or injury.
So, it comes down to: What is the right thing to do? Even though there is an antiquated personnel rule in place that provides the Department and the City an out, is that the right thing to do? This issue is not exclusive to just the Police Department. This rule applies to every City employee. If an employee who is injured comes to work and performs a task for the City, why is it so difficult to evaluate them on the performance of the tasks they are assigned and, if satisfactory, give them their earned merit increase? It is the right thing to do. It demonstrates that the City and the individual departments value their employees and the work they perform. It creates a sense of pride in the employee, who feels valued. It increases morale. It helps the families of the employees with an increase in salary. It fosters a positive work and home environment. I just cannot understand the downside for the City.
Some elected officials tout that the greatest assets the City has are its employees. Maybe it’s lip service and provides a good sound bite. Maybe saving a few dollars is worth affirming what many already feel, which is that, as employees, we are nothing more than a line-item expense on a budget sheet.
Just because it has always been done this way does not mean that it must or should continue. The City should do the right thing.