XENIA, OH -- The City of Xenia has decided to appeal to the Court of Common Pleas a recent arbitration decision which awarded its Fire Division Lieutenants and Captains more than $82,000 for overtime they did not work. In a decision dated January 27, 2011, arbitrator Cynthia Stanley, an attorney from Indianapolis, Indiana, found the City violated the labor agreement by temporarily assigning on-duty personnel to meet staffing needs instead of calling in off-duty officers. The situation arose during the recent financial crises when the City was only operating one fire station.
City Manager, Jim Percival, noted that “the firefighters’ labor agreement recognizes the City’s right to determine how staffing needs are met in the Fire Division.” He also noted that “the agreement gives us the right to temporarily assign on-duty personnel and pay them a “plus rate” premium of $1.50 per hour when other employees are sick or otherwise unable to work their assigned shifts.” Unfortunately the arbitrator apparently chose to ignore the plain language of the agreement and held, instead, that off-duty officers are entitled to be called-in and paid time and a-half of their regular hourly rate of pay. We do not believe the decision draws its essence from the actual language of the agreement and think the court will vacate the award.