Commission Expands Definition of “Emergency” to Justify Denial of Overtime to Police Officers

By Ira W. Mintz, Esq.

Township of Howell and PBA Local 228

In P.E.R.C. No. 2013-68, the Commission restrained binding arbitration of a grievance challenging the Township’s decision to use special police officers rather than regular police officers on overtime during and after a snow event.  The Commission found that “[t]o require the Township to call in additional officers on overtime rather than respond to the emergency with SPOs it had available to supplement rather than supplant the normal staffing on the force, would substantially limit the Township’s power to respond to an emergency in the most expeditious and efficient manner.”  The Commission cites no facts to suggest that the Township could not have met its needs by bringing in regular police officers on overtime.  In the past, a desire to avoid overtime compensation was not a sufficient ground for an employer to obtain a restraint of binding arbitration.

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