Police and Fire Department – Eliminate Duty Availability Pay

Savings: $52 million

The City currently makes a lump sum quarterly payment, referred to as duty availability pay, to firefighters, police officers, and unionized non-exempt supervisors in the Police Department (i.e., sergeants, lieutenants, and captains) in addition to their salaries.[1]  The 2011 budget included $37.75 million in corporate funded duty availability pay in the Police Department and $14.26 million for the Fire Department.[2]  The contracts are silent on the exact purpose of duty availability pay, but it is generally thought to compensate police and fire personnel for the fact that they can often be called into duty on their days off and, with respect to police personnel, that they are required to take action while off-duty if they see a crime in progress.

Under this option, the City would eliminate duty availability pay.  Eliminating this lump sum payment would save the City nearly $52 million in 2012.  Implementing this option would require amendments to the City’s current collective bargaining agreements with the Fire Fighters’, Police Officers’, Sergeants’, Lieutenants’, and Captains’ unions, which expire on June 30, 2012.

Proponents might argue that duty availability pay is not necessary because firefighters, police officers, sergeants, lieutenants, and captains are well compensated, receive generous pension benefits, and receive significant amounts of overtime.  Additionally, they might point out that many other City employees are on call when off duty and yet do not receive supplemental pay. Opponents might argue that this is just one component of the compensation that firefighters, police officers, sergeants, lieutenants, and captains receive. Therefore, eliminating it would be akin to reduction in pay that these employees have negotiated in collective bargaining agreements, likely in exchange for foregoing other benefits.

 

 

Budget Details

Dept: Police Department, 57 and Fire Department, 59 Bureau: NA
Fund: Corporate Fund, 0100, Approp Code: Duty Availability, 0022
The appropriations are located on pages 145 and 185 of the 2011 Annual Appropriation Ordinance.

http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/obm/supp_info/2011BudgetOrdinance.pdf


[1]City of Chicago. “Agreement between the City of Chicago and the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge No. 7.” Section 20.13. pg. 34.

City of Chicago. “Agreement between the City of Chicago and the Policemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association of Illinois, Unit 156-Sergeants.” Section 20.11. pg. 36.

City of Chicago. “Agreement between the City of Chicago and the Policemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association of Illinois, Unit 156-Lieutenants.” Section 20.11. pg. 31.

City of Chicago. “Agreement between the City of Chicago and the Policemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association of Illinois, Unit 156-Captains.” Section 20.11. pg. 30.

http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dol/supp_info/city_of_chicago_collectivebargainingagreements.html

[2] City of Chicago. “2011 Annual Appropriation Ordinance.” pgs. 145 and 185.