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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 29, 2010

City edges toward settlement in police, fire overtime case

By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Staff Writer

The city appears to be heading toward a settlement with about 273 current and former police officers and firefighters over alleged violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

The case, Almodova vs. City and County of Honolulu, filed in 2007, alleges that the city did not properly compensate 463 employees most of whom are current and former police officers and firefighters for overtime and pre-shift and post-shift work, according to U.S. District Court documents.

Late last year, the city offered 422 of the plaintiffs an undisclosed settlement amount. Of those, 273 accepted the proposed settlement, court documents state.

Court records do not show how much is being offered to each police officer and firefighter. However, documents show that offers were given to three sub-groups: police sergeants and lieutenants, other Honolulu Police Department employees, and Honolulu Fire Department employees below the rank of captain.

HFD captains and battalion chiefs, as well as employees from other city departments, were not offered the settlement, court documents said.

U.S. Magistrate Leslie Kobayashi was expected to rule yesterday on whether to approve the settlement, but the matter was pushed back to a later date, likely in February or March.

Attorneys for the public safety officers and the city declined to comment after yesterday's hearing.

If the settlement is approved by Kobayashi , it would still need to be passed by the City Council.

The case is in discovery. If a settlement is not reached with remaining plaintiffs, the case will continue to go to trial with whoever is left.

The city agreed to settle a similar lawsuit brought by 2,000 other police officers and firefighters in 2006 for $30 million.