|Published:||May 17, 2013 10:31 PM EDT|
|Updated:||May 17, 2013 11:08 PM EDT|
FORT MYERS, FL--The Fort Myers Police Department, accused of breaking the law, could be forced to pay thousands of dollars in overtime.
The police chief says they followed the law, but union representatives and an arbitrator say it's time to pay up.
It's a dispute ending with the city of Fort Myers being forced to cough up money for it's police officers.
The Florida Police Benevolent Association accused the department of illegally not paying overtime to officers who worked the Edison Festival of Lights Parade.
"Well, I think illegally is quite a strong word," said FMPD chief Doug Baker.
Baker said he followed the contract between the union and the department by moving around schedules and notifying his staff.
Baker said flexing schedules keeps the budget in line and save you money.
"Saving the city of Fort Myers and the tax payers about $45,000 plus, for two events," said Baker.
But tax payers we spoke with say they don't mid the extra cost of keeping events safe.
"We like to keep our budget low too, but I'd rather pay the police than some of the other things that the tax dollars go for," said resident Doug Craig.
The police union's president says the officers need this money after they suffered a dip in pay.
"To start with officers have taken a pay cut- 5.12% back in 2010," said president of the Florida Police Benevolent Association Matthew Sellers.
"I support the officers, I support their benefits and their pay and they need to get a fair wage just like you guys get a fair wage," said Baker.
This isn't the first time the city has been accused of withholding money.
Twice in 2011 FMPD was ordered to pay it's officers money they were entitled to.
The union says this latest ruling should boost moral.
"They know it is a small step, but the are glad to be compensated for their work," said Sellers.
The police department is still adding up how much money is owed to employees.
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