About 40 Prince William County police lieutenants will receive payments ranging from just under $5,000 to about $40,000 each as a result of county officials’ decisions in the wake of a 2016 court ruling in a Fairfax County case.
On Tuesday, Sept. 3, the Prince William Board of Supervisors approved a budget amendment to allow the police department to use $900,110 from the criminal forfeiture fund for retroactive overtime payments to police lieutenants, both active and retired.
The money will also cover officer safety equipment and facility improvements, according to a staff report.
The affected police department staff have already been paid their hourly rate for the period covered. About $400,000 from the forfeiture fund will cover the half-hour portion of the time-and-one-half overtime rate, according Sgt. Jonathan Perok, spokesman for the Prince William County Police Department.
The remaining funds – about $500,000 -- will be used to cover the purchase of rifles and associated accessory equipment and to fund a small renovation project at the Gar-Field Police Station in Woodbridge, Perok said.
Money in the department’s criminal forfeiture fund comes from criminal cases in which money or property was seized because of a criminal act, including drug investigations, Perok said.
The payments stem from a June 2016 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
In Morrison v. County of Fairfax, Virginia, the federal court ruled that Fairfax County fire captains do not meet the criteria to be exempt from overtime pay.
As a result of decision, former Prince William County Fire Chief Kevin McGee concluded the county’s fire and rescue captains perform the same work as their counterparts in Fairfax County. Therefore, the fire captain overtime rate was increased to time-and-one-half, and back pay was provided to June 21, 2014, two years prior to the 2016 court decision, according to a Prince William County supervisors’ staff report.
Assistant Fire Chief Matt Smolsky said 49 current and retired fire captains received backpay in 2016 as a result of the ruling with individual payments ranging from $206 to $26,200. Retroactive payments were made from the fiscal year 2017 budget, Smolsky said.
In late 2018, Prince William County Executive Chris Martino approved the police department’s request to begin paying the lieutenants overtime at a rate of time-and-one-half effective Jan. 1, as it was determined they perform similar operational duties as the captains, the staff report said.
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