Dispute over bonuses for some Lucas County dispatchers
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A debate is brewing in Toledo about extra money that emergency dispatchers believed they were getting.
Some thought more money was coming, but City leaders say the dispatchers already received it all.
It’s a major miscommunication leaving communication workers in the middle.
Toledo city council members are now considering a plan to take back around $144,000 they already appropriated for dispatchers to reward them for their work during COVID. That doesn’t mean people are losing any money but it seems something was lost in translation.
Dispatching emergency calls can often be a stressful and thankless job. A small token of appreciation came in this ordinance passed by Toledo City Council in September, spending that $144,000, which became $3000 for each of the 48 former city dispatch employees who joined the Regional Council of Governments.
“At the time this was authorized it was mischaracterized as premium pay for the recipients. Instead, those payments were meant to reward those former city employees who now work for the COG,” said Mike Niedzielski with the City of Toledo Law Department.
The legislation specifically says this was premium pay for front line workers for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic. It turns out those employees were actually getting a $3000 retention bonus for working COG from Oct. 1 through April 30.
Emails from frustrated employees have circulated through Toledo and Lucas County, leading to the legislation to ask council to pull back the money it allocated from the federal recovery dollars.
It appears everyone did get their $3000 for retention from the COG shortly after April 30, but some thought they were getting more.
“Passing the ordinance doesn’t necessarily mean that they are due more. I believe they were paid what they were told they were going to get if they met the terms of the agreement,” said Karen Poore, Toledo’s Deputy Mayor.
“We talk about accountability and holding people accountable. Our law department, here, I’m holding you accountable for this action because this was your job to make sure that wording was correct so we wouldn’t be in this position right now,” said Toledo City Councilwoman Cerssandra McPherson
It does not appear anyone lost money but poor communication appears to have led some to believe they were getting more money than they were promised.
The mayor’s office told council members they will make sure issues like this are ironed out before things are passed in the future. City council members could vote to repeal that ordinance as early as next Tuesday.
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