Harford deputies to get back pay

November 08, 1992|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Staff Writer

Harford County sheriff's deputies, who challenged a former policy that required them to arrive 15 minutes before roll call, will receive $115,569 in back pay from the county as a result of a settlement.

Harford Circuit Judge Cypert O. Whitfill approved the settlement Friday between the county and 87 sheriff's deputies.

The deputies sued in February 1990 over the policy of then-Sheriff Dominic Mele, who required them to work the extra 15 minutes without pay.

Emory A. Plitt Jr., attorney for the county, said current Sheriff Robert E. Comes ended that policy as soon as he took office in December 1990.

"The original lawsuit included only a handful of deputies," said Mr. Plitt.

"When Judge Whitfill signed the order, he was only making our settlement with the deputies union [Local 838] official."

Mr. Plitt said the county had determined that a 1985 U.S. Supreme Court decision made it illegal to require deputies to report to work early without paying them.

"It took time to amend the suit to include all those who were entitled to the back pay and then we had to calculate how much each deputy deserved," said Mr. Plitt.

The individual settlements with the 87 deputies ranged from $456 to $4,240.

"Those figures are not actual amounts owed," said Mr. Plitt. "They reflect a settlement, what each deputy agreed to accept."

Additionally, Mr. Comes, in his capacity as sheriff of Harford County, was ordered to pay $8,000 to Schlachman, Belsky and Weiner, attorneys for the plaintiffs.

Mr. Plitt said the settlement amount was no surprise.

"We had planned for it in the [1992-1993 fiscal] budget," he said.

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