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Unity auditors OK deal on overtime

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

The Unity Township Auditors on Tuesday agreed to a deal with the three township supervisors to pay them almost $30,000 in back overtime wages for their roadmaster work in 2011, in return for the supervisors agreeing not to seek unpaid overtime for 2009 and 2010.

The roadmasters, who were each paid for only 100 hours of overtime they worked from 2009 to 2011, will be paid for the remainder of their 2011 overtime at a rate of $40.41 per hour, which is 1 12 times their regular rate of $26.94 an hour. The board of auditors last year agreed to lift a 100-hour cap on overtime pay.

Under the terms of the settlement with the supervisors, Michael O'Barto would be paid about $10,294 for 254.75 hours of unpaid overtime; Jake Blank would receive about $9,354 for unpaid overtime of 231.5 hours; and John Mylant would be paid about $9,617 for 238 hours of unpaid overtime.

The roadmasters are responsible for the maintenance of the township's 152 miles of roads.

“I'm very pleased that is resolved,” O'Barto said after the meeting.

The three supervisors already approved the settlement.

The auditors' decisions to place a cap on overtime hours worked by the supervisors violated the state's minimum wage act and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, said Gary Falatovich, township solicitor. The supervisors are eligible for overtime pay, according to the state's second-class township association and court decisions, Falatovich said.

“It was not appropriate to cap those (overtime) hours. There's no question under the law they are entitled to this compensation,” Falatovich said.

The solicitor said that the township supervisors last spring raised the issue of payment for overtime hours and an independent auditor confirmed they had not been paid for all of the hours worked as roadmasters, Falatovich said. Under the law, the supervisors could have requested payment for unpaid overtime hours in 2010, and possibly 2009.

“They could have gone a lot heavier on the township,” said Thomas Baumann, one of three auditors.

Falatovich said he represented the township in the discussions and the three supervisors had their own attorney to represent them.

Baumann, an attorney, said he had questioned the legality of capping the overtime when it was instituted.

Overtime pay for the township supervisors was eliminated in 1998, O'Barto said.

As part of the agreement, the supervisors agreed to reimburse the township for the cost of insuring their personal vehicles for about five months in 2012. Baumann said the supervisors were being reimbursed at the federal rate for mileage, and that reimbursement included payment for insurance.

In a related matter, the auditors kept the roadmasters' wages at $26.94 an hour. The vacation rate and benefits are the same as the public works employees. O'Barto said the roadmasters' wages have remained the same since 2007.

“We're balancing the needs of the township versus their ability to make a living,” Baumann said.

The supervisors will get more money by being paid for all the hours they work, he said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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