STOW — Stow City Council has approved the addition of more money to the overtime budgets for the police and fire departments to prevent any shortfall due to overtime usage this year.
Police Chief Jeff Film asked for and received an additional $30,000 to his department’s 2017 overtime budget of $350,000. According to Stow Finance Director John Baranek, the police department had used $294,191.56 of its 2017 overtime budget as of Nov. 20.
"We have an officer deployed overseas, three officers on light duty status, (we’re) short one supervisor on night shift and we have had several other officers on extended leaves this year," Film says.
Right now, Film says his department is projected to come in within its overtime budget; while he anticipates not using the majority of the $30,000, Film says he wants to be safe in light of compensatory time cash-out possibilities. Per their labor contract, police officers can save their comp time and cash it out up to a ceiling of 100 hours. "… Some officers tend to save their comp time and cash it out for Christmas," according to Film; if every officer did that, it could total $62,000, the police chief says.
There are currently 41 officers in the Stow Police Department. Film says the department has boasted up to 44 officers a decade ago.
"I have asked for additional officers every year that I have been chief," Film said, "and will do so for 2018."
Fire Chief Mark Stone said the fire department was allocated $272,500 for overtime in 2017. Stone recently requested that an additional $15,000 be added to the fire department’s overtime account "as a precaution to get us to the end of the year." City Council authorized that request. Baranek says the fire department had used $248,874.55 of its 2017 overtime budget as of Nov. 20.
"We do need some of it," Stone says, "but we’re not likely to use all of it. The same action was taken last year and we never touched the additional overtime funds."
While the fire department was trying to reach the end of the year within its prescribed overtime budget, Stone says that effort was compromised by two retirements this summer as well as four firefighters (three from the same shift) being off on work-related injuries at the same time.
Stone has not requested additional firefighters in the 2018 budget. Currently there are 52 firefighters, with 15 assigned to both A- and B-Shift and 16 assigned to C-shift. Other firefighters are assigned to Fire Prevention and Administration.
Baranek says the money for the additional overtime will come out of the general fund — money that has been saved by positions that remain unfilled to date due to retirements.
Total Overtime Dollars
Total Overtime Dollars
Year Police Fire
2016 $355,119.24 $269,382.63
2015 $320,294.49 $275,836.30
2014 $413,866.46 $324,026.40
2013 $428,376.97 $265,231.57
2012 $426,507.54 $211,949.50