COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus police officers who work overtime this summer will be eligible for double-time pay rather than just time-and-a-half, according to an agreement signed off on by the city’s public safety director and the police union.
Columbus City Council — for the second year in a row — ratified that memorandum of understanding between its public safety department and the local Fraternal Order of Police, which amends the city-police union contract so that officers are eligible for double their pay rates when they voluntarily put in extra hours.
Although members of Council voted unanimously for the ordinance Monday night, the contract amendment took effect just before the weekend kicked off: at 4 p.m. on Friday, according to the memo.
The memorandum mimics a similar amendment made in May 2022 to last year’s city-police union contract. From May 27 through Sept. 26, police union members who worked extra hours in city parks between 4 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays earned double-time.
But under the more recently enacted policy, the agreement between the city and FOP broadens when and where officers can receive that increased pay rate. It does not limit the division to days of the week or hours of the day that double-time can be awarded.
The policy also extends beyond just being for extra shifts in parks to instead being for “city special operations” — including anything from when officers agree to staff events, such as races and festivals, or staff larger security details in neighborhoods where the city has identified an increase in violence, said Councilmember Emmanuel Remy.
The flexibility is intentional, Remy said.
“We want to make sure that we are able to staff up in those situations, so we’ve asked that we leave it more open-ended and that it’s more on demand, as needed,” Remy said.
That includes situations like the extra officers sent to the Short North over the weekend to curb violence following two successive weekends of 2 a.m. shootings in its nightlife district. On May 6, ten people were injured by gunfire — including in a shootout with police — during back-to-back shootings on High Street, and on May 14, 21-year-old Arthur Pickens was fatally shot.
FOP Lodge No. 9 Executive Vice President Brian Steel said morale is lowest among officers during the summer, when violent crime rates often climb. Like in 2022, the division is facing a shortage of officers to begin with as they head into the hotter months.
“These officers are doing their 40 hours and they’re going home,” Steel said. “It is a way to incentivize the officer to come do some additional patrol, to make up for some of that short-staffing.”
Mayoral candidate Joe Motil, who is challenging incumbent Mayor Andrew Ginther in the fall election, called the weekend efforts in the Short North “overkill” during a public comment portion of the Monday meeting.
“This MOU is one more display of the inequality and disproportionate spending of taxpayer dollars for public safety by the mayor,” Motil said. “And now he wants to pay the officers double time instead of time-and-a-half.”
Double-time rates for voluntary overtime will continue through Oct. 2, 2023, according to the memo.