TULSA, OK - An independent arbitrator has ruled that the City of Tulsa must pay back a total of $92,000 to police officers who were charged a fee for using their patrol cars for off-duty jobs, according to Tulsa World.
The arbitrator determined that the city violated the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93's contract by implementing the $32.28 per month fee without going through the standard negotiating process. The fee went into effect Nov. 1, 2008, after the Police Department exceeded its fuel budget by about $300,000 in the 2007-08 fiscal year.
Tony Puckett, the city's contracted labor attorney, said he will be presenting a recommendation for a potential appeal to Mayor Dewey Bartlett.
Police Chief Ron Palmer disagrees with the arbitrator's ruling, noting the funding will be a hit on his budget, equal to being able to hire back the three police officers laid off due to the budget deficit. Palmer said the overall issue of officer take-home vehicles and their use for anything but city business certainly will be discussed during the union contract negotiation process early next year, reported Tulsa World.