City and CLEAT Settle Salary Scuffle
Settlement results in new payment arrangement for officers doing union work
The city and the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, an umbrella organization of police unions from across the state, have settled a dispute over who should pay for Austin police who are off on union-work leave time. Under the new agreement, CLEAT will pay the city the salary and benefits for Sgt. Todd Harrison to be on full-time leave while working as CLEAT president. Harrison was elected to that post in 2009; he is also a board member of the Austin Police Association, the Austin Police Department officers' union, which is a member of CLEAT. Harrison had been using a pool of time set up under the APD officers' contract with the city, known as association business leave, in order to be paid his city salary – $101,200 without benefits – while off attending to CLEAT business. Whether that was a proper use of ABL pool time, made up of sick time donated by APD officers, was last month called into question in a grievance filed by two APD officers (see "Time Bandits in Uniform?," Aug. 12). After the officers filed a formal complaint, Chief Art Acevedo said he would reconsider the use of the leave time and recalled Harrison to full-time APD duty; that in turn prompted CLEAT to file for a temporary restraining order – which it obtained – to block the reassignment. In the interim, the city and the statewide union came up with the new payment arrangement, thus ending the court contest.