The New Jersey State Policemens Benevolent Association (PBA) Local 131 union filed a grievance with Parsippany-Troy Hills Township after dozens of police officers have not received their off-duty pay from the town and claim their pay continues to be withheld since the pay period of Nov. 8, according to a release.
The PBA is asking for the township to immediately pay in full all affected officers for all late road job pay and give written confirmation that, “moving forward, road job pay will be made on the first payday following the pay period when the work was performed.”
The grievance for failure to pay road job wages was sent to Police Chief Paul Philipps from PBA President George Tsimpedes on behalf of PBA Local 131 and 131A on Dec. 20. “The Township has refused to pay officers for road job work, claiming inability to pay. We believe that the law on this issue is clear,” said the filed grievance. “The township cannot delay payment to officers for completed road work, irrespective of whether the private entity delays payment or fails to make payment to the township.”
The union holds Mayor Jamie Barberio, Chief Financial Officer Joe Kovalcik and the township responsible for violations of state and federal labor laws saying that the “Mayor and CFO are using their positions to blatantly ignore the law and blame accounting issues as their reason” and not pay 87 police officers for off-duty hours” and “the township has no right to withhold or delay payment for completed road job work, based upon the private entity’s failure to pay or delay in payment to the township,” according to the grievence.
For off-duty pay, “all work will be paid for in advance and deposited in an escrow account to be held with the Finance Department of the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, with the exception of work performed for the Parsippany Board of Education, the Township and the New Jersey Department of Transportation and work related to emergencies,” according to Section 4-34 of the township code regarding “fees governing services rendered by off-duty police officers.”
“Jobs have been worked by all officers and the township has
been paid by all contractors, and yet officers’ wages are still being withheld
past the state and federal requirement,” according to a release.
“Management personnel who willfully violate any provision of the Wage Payment Law … can be charged with a disorderly persons offense and, upon conviction, be subject to a fine of not less than $100 or more than $1,000 for each day the violation continues,” according to the grieviance. “Affected officers could also file claims with the New Jersey Department of Labor or civil complaints with the Superior Court.”
If they are successful in court, the township will be required to pay the overdue wages with interest as well as be liable for the officers’ reasonable attorneys’ fees.
“Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, ‘late pay’ is generally deemed the equivalent to ‘no pay.’ Therefore, the township’s failure to timely compensate officers for road jobs is already in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and officers affected could bring claims before the U.S. Department of Labor or the Courts,” according to the grievance. “Successful claimants before the Courts are awarded all wages withheld, an equal additional amount of liquidated damages equal to the amount all wages withheld, and reimbursement of attorney’s fees.
Patch reached out to Barberio for comment.