On September 6, Bob Gilbert and I met with Director Halliday to follow up on some items from previous meetings.
Work schedules continue to be topic AHPA discusses with the agency. The AHPA had approached the agency regarding two issues; allowing work groups who work 4 ten-hour shifts during a holiday week to keep those shifts instead of requiring them to adjust to a 5 eight-hour schedule for that week. In a previous meeting, the Director indicated support for this. DPS Executive Staff has discussed this issue and at this point they are awaiting an opinion from the Attorney General’s office.
The other issue is related to the newly revised overtime management General Order the agency recently rewrote. The revision was a result of a direct request from AHPA. We were asking for the ability to allow employees to claim and keep overtime in the same week that sick leave is taken. This would come into play if an employee accrues overtime at the beginning of a workweek and then is sick or injured during the latter part and is unable to work. Previously, the employee would have to use holiday or compensatory leave instead of the appropriate sick leave. The agency posted the GO change, which included language that specifically excluded civilian classifications based on language within ARS 23-392. The agency contends this particular statute does not authorize them to allow civilians to claim overtime in the same week leave is taken. While this language is specific to law enforcement officers, there is no statute that would prohibit the agency from allowing all DPS employees to claim overtime in the same week leave is taken. AHPA will continue to monitor the situation.
Recently, the agency hired a full-time Legal Counsel, Mr. Dennis Lusk. His responsibilities will include advising the Director and the agency on important issues needed legal research and opinion (such as those mentioned in this message). Mr. Lusk will also interact on a regular basis with the Attorney General’s office.
AHPA will continue to monitor the agreement between ADOT and DPS as it relates to officers working in ADOT work zones. Initially, officers assigned to those positions will be scheduled through a third-party broker and will be considered “off-duty,” which could create issues regarding workers compensation coverage. The agency has continued to pursue “on-duty” status for those working to ensure proper protection.