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Cape Coral special pay can't be verified

$80,000 issued to police and firefighters in 2010

Aug. 24, 2011


Auditors say they canít verify $80,000 in special pay issued to Cape Coral police and firefighters in 2010 was calculated accurately and in compliance with union contracts.

Telluric Current Consulting looked only at add pay for the police and fire departments. The company sampled the payroll records of 10 firefighters and seven officers to identify issues.

Add pay is additional compensation employees can earn for education and extra job certifications.

Add pay also became the focus of a controversy this year over pay some police received for academic credits.

The audit found contract language hadnít been updated for 10 years and employees were using their knowledge of what happened in the past to determine if the payments were accurate. As many as 150 people in the departments may have received a portion of the $80,000, according to the audit.

ďWe had inconsistent policies among the fire department, police department, human resources and finance,Ē said City Manager Gary King, noting procedures have been tightened.

The police department also is monitoring its add pay situation more closely and the cityís computer experts are working to make the two automated payroll systems used by the city more compatible when information is transferred between them.

The $16,000 audit was requested in 2010 by King after the city found an officer getting additional pay for academic credits he hadnít earned. That led the city to tell 11 officers they had to repay their add pay for unearned academic credits. The police union fought back, but the stateís Public Employee Relations Committee eventually sided with the city. Firefighters also won a dispute with the city over how additional pay provisions of their contract were being interpreted.

Eight different agreements were involved, which made payroll a complex and arduous task to complete, King said.

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