Trending Topics

Union: New Orleans officers still working without COVID-19 hazard pay

City officials told the police union they were still attempting to obtain federal funding for hazard pay

Matt Sledge
The Advocate

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Police Department officers are seeking hazard pay through the New Orleans Civil Service Commission. They say that an emergency pay rate equivalent to overtime should have kicked in once Cantrell declared an emergency and sent many city workers home.

“It’s not just officers exposing themselves to the virus,” said Donovan Livacarri, a spokesman for the local lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police. “You go to work and then you come home, and then you’re risking exposing your whole family and your kids and your grandkids — whoever else lives in the house with you. Those dangers come home with the officer.”

The Fraternal Order of Police was set to make its pitch to the Civil Service Commission on Monday, but the hearing was rescheduled.

In a written response to the labor group’s request, City Attorney Sunni LeBeouf said the administration was trying to secure “additional funding” for first responders through a federal stimulus act passed in March.

However, LeBeouf said the city opposed granting emergency pay through the Civil Service Commission. She said many city employees had continued to work either from home or in offices closed to the public, so the special emergency pay rate shouldn’t apply.

“To apply the rule as (the Fraternal Order of Police) desires would require the city to pay every working city employee an extra 50 percent on top of their regular rate, from March 23, 2020 until the city ceases the current manner of operations as designed to limit the spread of COVID-19,” she said.

She said the commission should not go beyond the intent of its pay rules and “exacerbate the city’s already strained financial situation.”