East Cleveland Police chief’s illegal receipt of overtime


By – ejon – .ejon1953@gmail.com,

Council,

 Below is a copy of Chapter 127.05 of East Cleveland’s administrative code which sets forth the conditions that determines the city employees who receive overtime and those who are prohibited from receiving it as found in Chapter 127.05(c).  Below that is section 101.99 of the administrative code setting forth penalties that make the violation of every ordinance a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail with payments of up to $1000 in fines unless otherwise specified.
 
It has been stated that police chief Ralph Spotts receives overtime wages.  He asked me to allow him to receive overtime wages after I appointed him in 2007 and I refused.   He offered the argument that police chief’s customarily received the same benefits as union employees and I noted that nothing in any ordinance, Ohio law or collective bargaining agreement supported his flawed opinion.  I further made note that at no time did I ever authorize the police chief he replaced to receive additional compensation for overtime in violation of Ord. 127.05(c).  The police chief is a management and not a collective bargaining employee.
 
More importantly, Spotts, a public employee and law enforcement officer, was informed by me that I could be prosecuted for theft in office and dereliction of duty under ORC 2921.44(e) if I authorized him to receive overtime; and that he could be prosecuted for theft in office, receiving the stolen public funds and dereliction of duty for accepting it.  I also told Spotts he could be prosecuted for fraud if he submitted a time card with an overtime request knowing his receipt of the public funds was illegal.  The point I’m making is that Spotts knew and has known that it is unlawful for him to submit time cards with a claim for overtime.  This makes his time card, in my view, a criminal tool used to receive stolen public funds and it makes every act he’s done to receive the money “knowing.”  Each and every time card he’s submitted for overtime in my view counts as a separate act.  It’s too bad the city’s director of law and chief prosecuting attorney continues to violate Disciplinary Rule 1.13 of the Code of Professional Conduct by failing to inform council of the illegal acts being committed by the mayor and the employees he supervises. 
 
I suggest you ask Auditor of State David Yost to include Spotts’ overtime payments in any audit of the city’s finances and obtain a finding for recovery.  However, I don’t believe council has to wait for the Auditor of State to act in order to demand that Spotts repay and be prosecuted for receiving overtime funds.  Council has the authority to cause the mayor and finance director to be prosecuted for authorizing and paying Spotts for overtime. 
 
Spotts has stated that he intends to retire next year.  It’s obvious that he’s stealing overtime money in an effort to increase his highest three years wages to boost his lifetime retirement check.  Upon retirement, Spotts will seek to convert all of his unused vacation, compensatory and sick time to cash as a final payout.  That, along with the illegal wages he’s received above his authorized wages, drives up his final three years earnings to give him an annual retirement salary of $60,000 or $70,000 instead of approximately $35,000.  The additional ill-gotten money paid to Spotts will become a financial liability to the city.  He should not be allowed to burden the city’s taxpayers with a larger retirement check other than the one he legitimately earned.  If he’s prosecuted and convicted prior to his retirement, Spotts will lose his retirement.
 
Council has a use it or lose it policy for both vacation and compensatory time.  There’s no way for him to accumulate anymore than one year’s worth of vacation or comp time.  Anything over that one year’s amount should be viewed as suspect.
 
Again, the ordinance below prohibits the police chief and several other employees from receiving overtime.  I strongly encourage council to get back every dime Spotts has taken and make sure his illegally-inflated wages do not become part of a larger lifetime retirement package.
 
To the council member who asked if I was concerned that Gary and Spotts might try to physically harm me or set me up, and who suggested that murder might be a tool used by these men or their agents to retaliate against me, the answer is no.
 
I remember well when ex-deputy safety director Charles Teel and ex-fire chief Bobby Jenkins reached for their weapons the night I attended a council meeting and ex-mayor Onunwor walked up to me and placed his finger on my chin and I lowered his arm from my face.  Ex-detective Mike Perry got between us, shielded me and ushered me out of the room for my own protection.  What was my offense?  I snapped Onunwor’s picture.
 
Gary and Spotts tried to set me up with a phony corruption investigation conducted by Randy Hicks shortly after I left office. They were also shopping for a prosecutor who’d prosecute me for purchasing the weapon and laptop I bought before leaving office while the issue was being pursued in court.  Gary tried to get search warrant to enter my apartment after he used his status as mayor-elect to tell employees not to follow my orders to transfer the property I’d paid for before I left office.  I am fully-aware that he is a malicious criminal who conspired with Spotts and Scott Gardner to obstruct a criminal investigation I ordered of him for receiving and disseminating property stolen from my personal computer by Pitassio Taylor.
 
I consider my safety but I don’t dwell on it.  Check out the ordinance below.  It should help you hold Spotts and Gary accountable for stolen public funds.  If council doesn’t act I definitely believe this issue will be reviewed by the financial planning and supervision commission.
 
Eric Jonathan Brewer
 
 

127.05  WORKING HOURS AND OVERTIME FOR CITY EMPLOYEES

                              IN GENERAL.

               Except for the regular members of the Police and Fire Division and as exempted or otherwise provided by law, the following provisions apply to all employees of the City:

               (a)        The normal work day is eight hours commencing at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m. with one hour to be taken for lunch, Monday through Friday of each week, inclusive.

                           (Ord. 6596.  Passed 5-14-74.)

               (b)        All such employees shall be paid for overtime at the wage rate of one and one-half times the employees’ regular wage rate for hours worked in excess of forty hours per week subject to the exemptions provided by Federal Statutes 29 U.S.C. Sections 207 and 213 as amended and Ohio R.C. 4111.01; provided further however, that for purposes of computing hours worked during a work week including a paid legal holiday, employees shall be credited a normal work day of eight hours as hours worked with respect to the paid legal holiday.

                           (Ord. 6908.  Passed 9-21-76.)

(c)          The Mayor may change the work days and the starting and finishing time of any employee when such change will serve to improve the public service. 

                           (Ord. 6596.  Passed 5-14-74.)

               (d)       Any such overtime compensation that has been accrued by any employee may be deferred and due and payable at the sole discretion of the Director of Finance, if necessary funding is available or at the termination of such employee.

                           (Ord. 111-93.  Passed 10-19-93.)

               (e)        The following salaried employees shall not be paid overtime at any wage rate for hours worked in excess of forty hours per week:

                        Mayor

                        Executive Assistant to the Mayor

                        City Engineer

                        Director, Department of Community Development

                        Director of Finance

                        Assistant Director of Finance

                        Director of Purchasing Department

                        Manager, EDP Resources

                        Fire Chief

                        Director, Helen S. Brown Center

                        Director, Housing Department or Chief Housing Inspector

                        Housing Commissioner

                        Director, Human Resources

                        Director, Lands and Buildings

                        Director of Law

                        Director, Parks and Recreation

                        Police Chief

                        Director, Probation Department or Chief Probation Officer

                        Clerk of Court, East Cleveland Municipal Court

                        Director, Service Department

                        Deputy Tax Administrator

                        Director, Water Department or Utilities Administrator.

                        (Ord. 79-94.  Passed 7-19-94.)

                                    (f)        (1)        All non-bargaining unit hourly employees shall be eligible to receive compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay at the rate of one hour for each overtime hour worked.  The approving signature of the supervisor shall evidence entitlement to compensatory time and/or department head responsible for signing the employee’s time card before it is submitted to be paid.  Each eligible employee may accumulate a maximum of 160 hours of unused compensatory time; provided, however, that all accumulated compensatory time must be used prior to the end of the year in which it is earned or will be forfeited, if not approved for cash conversion pursuant to subsection (f)(2).

After a non-exempt employee has accrued this maximum compensatory time bank, subsequently accumulated compensatory time may be used only as leave, for vacation, compensatory time leave, bereavement leave, and holidays, in addition to regularly accumulated sick leave, or personal leave.

(2)                                If at the end of each calendar year (December 31) a non-exempt employee has unused compensatory time, he/she shall be eligible to convert up to 50 hours of that compensatory time to cash, if, in the sole discretion of the Director of Finance, necessary funding is available.  The calculation for converting compensatory time to cash shall be the employee’s hourly rate of pay at the time the request is made, multiplied by number of hours the employee desires to convert.  It shall be the responsibility of the employee seeking to convert compensatory time to cash to make a request in writing to the Department of Finance specifying the number of hours he/she wishes to convert to cash, prior to the end of the first pay period in the new calendar year.  The cash conversion shall be forwarded to the employee on the scheduled pay date.

                                                (3)        An employee with accumulated compensatory time may request leave, which will be charged against such accumulated compensatory time, for vacation, time off, bereavement leave, or holidays and shall be granted such leave so long as the granting of said leave does not unduly disrupt City operations as determined by the non-exempt employee’s supervisor, department head, or the Mayor.

                                                (4)        All non-exempt employees shall, upon retirement, be paid for all accumulated compensatory time up to 160 hours at an hourly rate equal to the employee’s final regular hourly rate.  In the event of an employee’s death, such compensation shall be paid to the employee’s estate.

                                                (5)        Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay or formal compensatory time.  However, the policy of the City shall be to allow exempt personnel to take time off from their duties during normal business hours, when they have devoted time in excess of the normally expected time commitment associated with the nature of their positions, provided that they receive the approval of the Mayor to take such time off from his/her duties.

                                    (Ord.  123-01.  Passed 7-17-01.)

 

 

101.99  GENERAL PENALTY.

               Whenever, in the Codified Ordinances or in any ordinance of the Municipality, any act is prohibited or is made or declared to be unlawful or an offense or a misdemeanor, or whenever the doing of any act is required or the failure to do any act is declared to be unlawful, where no specific penalty is otherwise provided, whoever violates any such provision shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1000) or imprisoned not more than six months or both..  A separate offense shall be deemed committed each day during or on which a violation continues or occurs.

 

 






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