Reporting Nick Young
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Tinley Park, Ill. (STMW) – A Tinley Park police officer seeking overtime pay for caring for a police dog between shifts is not entitled to the extra money because the contract with the police union covers the arrangement, the village says in response to a lawsuit filed by the officer.
The village is asking a judge to dismiss the suit.
The officer already receives a $2,000 stipend to care for his four-legged partner, Thor, per the collective bargaining agreement with the union, according to the response, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court and obtained Friday by the SouthtownStar.
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Tinley Park Police Officer Bob Diorio filed the lawsuit earlier this year, seeking overtime to care for the dog outside his regular 40-hour work week.
According to the village’s response, the contract with the union contains no provision to pay an officer overtime wages “when engaged in the care, feeding, boarding, grooming, transport and training of his service animal.” The response also cited other court cases in which canine officers were denied overtime because of previous stipend agreements and the difficulty in determining how much time they actually spend caring for the dog.
The U.S. Department of Labor has found that canine care and handling services performed by police officers, while compensable, is not compensable at the same rate as is paid for law enforcement duties, the village’s response states. It also states that Diorio does not allege the union contract is unreasonable, does not allege the stipend is the only compensation he receives for canine handling services, and does not allege he does not receive other non-monetary compensation or benefits for handling the dog.
Tinley Park Village Manager Scott Niehaus previously has said that Diorio is paid a salary of $83,096 and gets the $2,000 stipend for dog-related tasks while not on duty. Diorio was reimbursed $1,472 for food and supplies last year, Niehaus said.
Diorio’s attorney, David Stevens, did not immediately return a phone message Friday.
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