Michigan Police Officers Union Pushes For Hazard Pay During COVID-19 Pandemic
As the pandemic continues, POAM continues to fight for our members to receive hazard pay. While in this fight, our own Dave LaMontaine was interview by WWMT – West Michigan. Read the full article below, or see it here.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. — West Michigan law enforcement officers have been lobbying to get hazard pay during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Police Officers Association of Michigan, which is the state’s largest police union.
The association business agent David LaMontaine said it is all about fairness since Michigan State Police Troopers are receiving hazard pay for working through the crisis. LaMontaine said none of the law enforcement agency members he represents have been offered hazard pay.
“That’s a big zero on the scoreboard,” he said.
He said a big factor why some are not being offered hazard pay is that some departments are in communities not large enough to secure hazard pay reimbursement funding from the federal government.
He said money is tight in many municipalities struggling to bring in tax revenue.
“You know the state’s getting money, that’s how they can afford to pay their troopers and the DNR and DOC people because they’re gonna get reimbursed for that,” LaMontaine said. “All our locals are not necessarily in that position, and then they have to say, ‘Well, where am I going to get this money? Am I going to be able to get a refund of this hazard pay from the federal government?’ Nobody seems to know. So they’re hesitant and justifiably so in many cases, but everybody’s looking to the federal government to solve the problem for us because that’s where they print the money.”
Kalamazoo County Internal Services Deputy Administrator Amanda Morse said Kalamazoo County reported the sheriff’s office “exceeded their general fund budget by $444,879 in 2019 with total operations being $500,678 over budget.”
The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners told the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office to offset that overage.
Morse said there’s been no word yet of layoffs or pay cuts at the sheriff’s office.
Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller said there are many ideas being discussed on how to balance the budget, and he can’t release specifics because his team hasn’t decided on anything.
LaMontaine said he just wants to see all officers get the same hazard pay state troopers are receiving.
“There’s really no amount of money that’s adequate to put yourself in jeopardy and potentially take that home to your family, but it’s about fairness,” LaMontaine said.
U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, weighed in on the issue Monday, May 11, 2020, and issued a statement:
“Our essential frontline workers are playing critical roles helping our communities during this pandemic and they deserve more than our thanks. That’s why I’m going to keep working to ensure frontline workers who are putting their health and well-being at risk receive bonus pay. I’ll continue pressing to ensure this issue is addressed in a future coronavirus relief package,” Peters said.
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We’re continuing to make adjustments for you during this uncertain time. Stay tuned to our website, social channels, and mobile app for continuous news updates. Please contact us if you have any questions or comments on this response to this Hazard Pay.