NOPD Furloughs

By now, everyone is aware that there will be mandatory furloughs of personnel through the end of the year. There are 6 pay cycles starting on October 11 and ending on January 2, 2020. Everyone will be required take one unpaid furlough day in addition to your regular AWP days per 2-week pay cycle. There should be no need to take any more than 6 unpaid furlough days before the end of the year.

I was asked if officers were forbidden from scheduling their furlough day to coincide with AWP days or annual leave days. I was told there is no Department regulation or directive that would not allow taking annual the day before and the day after your scheduled furlough day. If you are AWP on Wednesday and Thursday, nothing prevents your furlough day from being Friday or Tuesday.

However, it is possible that your commander could implement a district directive to that effect. Or maybe your supervisors can’t make the schedule work like that, but it isn’t because of some department-wide directive.

There have been rumors about pay cuts, forced retirements, and all kinds of other unpleasant personnel actions. I am sure that all of those things are on the table. There are somethings the City can’t control. For example, your pension is a state pension. So, that money cannot be used elsewhere. That being said, your pension is the only benefit that will be impacted adversely by the furlough days. By the end of the year, you will be 6 days behind. Otherwise, your benefits will not be affected.

There was a special meeting of the New Orleans Civil Service Commission today (10/8/20). The only item on the agenda was the City’s request to waive the time delays found in Rule XII, Section 9. It does not impact the actual furlough of employees, just how quickly they can implement the furloughs. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Commission voted to give the City Administration the waivers they were asking for.

I, on behalf of the FOP, have been working with Aaron Mischler of the New Orleans Firefighter’s Union to find a solution to the mandatory furloughs. Right now, this is looking like a promising exercise. However, there are no guarantees and it isn’t done until its done.

The FOP is working hard on your behalf and we will not stop. There are no guarantees, except that the FOP will be working hard on your behalf.

NOPD Inspection

On August 18, 2020, N.O.P.D. Sergeant Kevin Seuzeneau sent an NOPDALL email reminding everyone about N.O.P.D. Rule 2, Moral Conduct, Paragraph 1, Adherence to Law. Why would he do that? Doesn’t everyone already know that police officers have to comply with the law? Sure we do.

Sgt. Seuzeneau also reminds everyone that there will be a department-wide inspection coming soon. He follows that up with some municipal traffic ordinances police officers in New Orleans are also familiar with. There are probably plenty of officers who have never experienced a department-wide inspection while employed by NOPD, but this is a good time to prepare.

Sgt. Seuzeneau included the municipal ordinances on driver’s licenses, vehicle registration, license plates, etc. These ordinances are included because these are the things they will be checking. You will likely be asked to produce your driver’s license. They will also check to make sure those licenses are valid. Is your driver’s license suspended because of a dispute with the State of Louisiana over taxes? That is a sustained violation. No license on person? Sustained.

They will also check the cars out in the parking lot. The cars should have license plates affixed to the rear number – not on the rear deck. The registration should be readily available. The brake tag should be valid and there should be valid insurance.

All of these potentially sustained violations are avoidable. Take Sgt. Seuzeneau’s advice and use his email as a checklist. It is not worth the hassle of being sustained for R2P1. If it happens, feel free to call me.

Update to Emergency Rate of Pay May 27, 2020

Listen to my discussion with Tommy Tucker on WWL radio this morning regarding the Emergency Rate of Pay:

Listen to Aaron MIschler’s discussion with Tommy Tucker on WWL radio this morning regarding the Emergency Rate of Pay. Aaron Mischler is President of IAFF Local 632 – the Firefighter’s Union. Aaron has been a good partner in seeking the Emergency Rate of Pay.

New Orleans Emergency Rate of Pay

On March 11, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards declared and a Public Health Emergency for the State of Louisiana as it relates to COVID-19. Also, on March 11, 2020, pursuant to a filing in Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana, Mayor LaToya Cantrell declared a State of Emergency for the City of New Orleans. See Mayoral Proclamation of a State of Emergency due to COVID-19.

Mayor Cantrell’s State of Emergency proclamation directs the Superintendent of Police to take command and control over all police officers in the City of New Orleans pursuant to La. R.S. 40:1387 along with all authority typically given by such a proclamation. As a result of the State of Emergency, some city employees were placed on civil leave and told to go home. Another group of city employees was told to go home and perform their regular job duties from home. Finally, a third group of employees was told they had to report to work at their regular place of work.

New Orleans Civil Service Rule IV, Sec. 11.1 states as follows:

If it becomes necessary for an employee (exempt and non-exempt) to work on any day when the Mayor of New Orleans has declared an official emergency and has requested that only essential employees report to work, the appointing authority should adjust the employee’s work schedule to allow another day(s) off during that work period as a substitution. If such a substitution is not possible, then, for working at such time, the employees shall be paid the following:
(a) All non-exempt employees shall be paid at a rate of one and one-half (1½) times their normal rate for all hours worked.
(b) All exempt employees shall be paid at a rate of one and one-half (1½) times their normal rate of pay. Normal rate of pay for exempt employees is defined as the weekly salary.
(c) In situations where the emergency lasts for less than a normal seven day work week, then exempt employees shall be paid at a rate of one and one-half (1½) times their normal hourly rate for all hours worked subject to the maximum allowed for a regular scheduled work day in keeping with Rule I, Number 40. Under no circumstances shall an exempt employee receive pay from this section that exceeds more than one and one-half times his normal weekly salary for an emergency event.
In all cases, this pay is to remain in effect until the Mayor announces the state of emergency has ended or an announcement is made that City offices are open for business and employees are to report to work, whichever comes first.
(d) When the Mayor of New Orleans has declared an official emergency on a day in which city offices remain open for business, exempt and non-exempt essential employees (except for highly compensated employees as defined by the FLSA) who are assigned to perform emergency/disaster field operations duties may receive five (5) percent over their normal rate of pay while engaged in such duties during a declared state of emergency. In cases where the emergency declaration extends beyond four (4) weeks, a request for extension and reasons therefore must be submitted by the Chief Administrative Office or other executive authority to the Civil Service Commission for approval along with an anticipated end date and a list of the essential employees who will remain in the emergency assignment. (amended September 25, 2017, adopted by the Council October 26, 2017)

(Section 11.1 adopted March 28, 1996, ratified by the Council April 18, 1996, amended May 15, 2006, adopted by the Council May 25, 2006, effective June 1, 2006, amended April 28, 2014, adopted by the Council June 2014, effective April 28, 2014)

Since there is a declared State of Emergency and some employees have been required to report to work and some employees were instructed not to report for work and were placed on civil leave, New Orleans Civil Service Commission Rule IV, Sec. 11.1 comes becomes effective as it relates to the pay for those employees required to report for work at their regular duty station.

There is no definition of “essential employees” or “non-essential employees.” However, based on Civil Service Rule IV, Sec. 11.1, we can determine who certainly constitutes an “essential employee” and who certainly constitutes a “non-essential employee.”

Reporting to work implies both the performance of job duties and the location those job duties are performed. Essential employees are those employees who were instructed to report to work at the employee’s regular place of work or another location as designated by the employee’s appointing authority as required to accomplish the employee’s job. Non-essential employees are those employees who are not required to report to any particular location or perform any job duties. Non-essential employees are those employees being carried under civil leave, of who were initially carried under civil leave at the beginning of the state of emergency. There is a third group of employees in the state of emergency related to COVID-19 — those who are working from home.

The emergency rate of pay was introduced to encourage employees to report to work as needed under emergency conditions. In other words, some employees have to come to work in spite of conditions which make reporting to work more dangerous than normal. In addition to merely encouraging employees to report to work as needed, the emergency rate of pay works to fairly compensate those employees who, because their jobs do not allow them to work from home, must expose themselves to the dangerous circumstances forming the basis of the state of emergency.

There is no question that the employees of the NOPD, NOFD, and NOEMS are essential employees. These employees are required to expose themselves to a potentially deadly virus by the very nature of their job. No matter what precautions are taken, our police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel are required to be exposed to the threat imposed by SARS-CoV-2. In addition to our first responders, any other employee who is required to report to work at their normal place of assignment is an essential employee for the purposes of this declared State of Emergency.

I have heard several reasons why police officers should not get an emergency rate of pay:

Excuse #1: The City has not told essential employees to report to work while telling non-essential employees to stay home. This is not true for the reasons discussed above. There are employees who have been required by the city to physically report to the employee’s regular place of work to perform the employee’s job. There is also a group of employees who were either not required to physically report to the employee’s regular place to work or the employee was not required to perform any work at all while still being paid.

Excuse #2: This is a state of emergency that exists throughout the United States. Police officers around the country are required to work under similar circumstances. FEMA won’t be able to reimburse everyone. Article X, Sec. 10 of the Louisiana Constitution states that civil service rules have the force and effect of law. Therefore, New Orleans Civil Service Rule IV, Sec. 11.1 has the force and effect of law. Civil Service Rule IV, Sec. 11.1 does not state that essential employees are to be paid an emergency rate of pay only if the city is going to be reimbursed for the expenditure.

Excuse #3: Police officers already get extra pay from the State every month. State Supplemental Pay is not emergency or hazard pay. State Supplemental Pay is intended to supplement inadequate salaries offered to law enforcement officers by municipalities or parishes.

First responders exist in the same world as the rest of us. They have to worry about getting sick and bringing the virus into their homes with their families. However, they don’t have the option of working from home like I do, or not having to work at all and relying on civil leave. Finally, they still have to worry about things like getting shot while trying to protect people like me and you — which has happened twice in the last week to three officers.

Civil Service Rule IV, Sec. 11.1, which has the force and effect of law, states that during a declared state of emergency where some city employees are required to report to work in the field at a place determined by the city which is not home while other employees are told to stay home and are not expected to perform any work while being carried civil leave or are allowed to work at home requires that exempt and non-exempt employees who are required to report to work in the field at a place determined by the city must be paid time and one-half (1.5x).

I understand that the COVID-19 emergency has created a great deal of pressure on the city. However, that is no reason not to give city employees what is owed to them by state law. The color of the trip sheet doesn’t matter. Whether or not it is reimbursed doesn’t matter. Some employees are entitled to be paid 1.5x. If the city does not pay its employees what they are owed in this emergency, who is to say they will report to work as expected in the next emergency.

UPDATE: I have already written a letter to the Director of Personnel, Lisa Hudson, at Civil Service. I have asked that the matter be brought before the Civil Service Commission when they conduct a regular meeting. There have been a number of comments referencing a possible lawsuit. However, the Civil Service Commission has sole jurisdiction. So, it will be necessary to bring this issue before the Civil Service Commission before it can go to any court.

 

A Good Time to Prepare

www.nola.com/entertainment_life/home_garden/article_a3a19316-77c1-11ea-920c-7f8ea57235d3.html

I was reading the above article and thought this could be a good opportunity to remind members of the FOP Crescent City Lodge that the Crescent City Lodge provides its members with 4 hours of legal services for any family law needs and 2 hours of legal services for anything else. I can usually get a Last Will and Testament and/or a Living Will done for Crescent City Lodge members with no out of pocket expense.

Also, the NOPD continues to conduct internal investigations. I have been working with officers throughout this current situation. The FOP’s Legal Plan will continue to provide legal services as usual. Feel free to call about statements, whether you are the accused officer or not, extension hearings, or any other questions you may have about disciplinary investigations.

Donovan

NOPD Only – Supplies Poll

In an effort to gauge the supplies needed by members of FOP Crescent City Lodge #2, I would appreciate it if NOPD personnel could answer the following non-scientific poll questions. Please share with NOPD personnel and encourage NOPD personnel to answer the 3 poll questions.

FOP Crescent City Lodge #2 Monthly Newsletter Email Giveaway

Each month, about a week before the monthly FOP meeting, the Crescent City Lodge sends its monthly newsletter to members via email. Starting in May 2020, the Crescent City Lodge will begin a random draw giveaway that will work like this:

In May, the Crescent City Lodge will randomly choose one email address from the email list used to distribute the monthly newsletter. If the person with the selected email address replies to the newsletter email from the selected email address, that member will win $50 cash.

If nobody responds from the selected email address by the time the Crescent City Lodge sends out the June newsletter email, then a new email address will be chosen and published in the monthly newsletter and that person will become the potential winner of $100. Likewise, if the email address selected for the June newsletter email does not respond from the selected email address by the time the July newsletter is sent out, then a new email address will be selected and that person could win $150. Once the pot is claimed, it will go back to $50.

The important thing is to make sure the FOP Crescent City Lodge #2 has your correct email address. If the Crescent City Lodge does not have your correct email address, then there will be no way your email address can be selected.

If you are not regularly receiving the Crescent City Lodge’s monthly newsletter by email, that means we do not have an accurate email address for you.

If you receive the Crescent City Lodge’s monthly newsletter at your @nola.gov email address, please send the Crescent City Lodge your personal email address. There are inherent problems with using your @nola.gov email address for anything that is not work-related. As I have mentioned numerous times, you have no expectation of privacy with regard to anything in your @nola.gov email inbox (or outbox). The City and Department have specifically told you there is no right to privacy with your @nola.gov email address. In addition, there is a policy that states that you are only allowed to use your @nola.gov email address for work-related communication. As the attorney for a lot of NOPD officers, I am advising you that it is unwise to use your @nola.gov email address for anything other than work-related communication. If the NOPD wanted to forward all of the emails in your @nola.gov email address to the FBI, they would be well within their rights to do so. You can get a free email address from any number of places. Google’s Gmail is available for free. Microsoft has @outlook.com email addresses that are available for free. You can get @yahoo.com email addresses for free. ProtonMail is available for free and has end-to-end encryption. The bottom line is if you are using your @nola.gov email address for all of your email communication, you are putting yourself at risk unnecessarily when there are cost-free alternatives available.

If you need to update your email address with the Crescent City Lodge, you can email Jim Gallagher at jim6411 at fopno.info. You can send me updated email addresses also and I will send it where it needs to go. You can also update your address, phone number, beneficiary, or other personal information using the same method.

You could be missing out if the Crescent City Lodge does not have your correct email address. Beginning in May, all you have to do is open the monthly newsletter email and check the selected email address. If the selected email address belongs to you, all you have to do is reply to the monthly newsletter email address and you could win between $50 and $600. If you have legal questions about privacy and email, feel free to give me a call. If you have any questions about the email address giveaway, you are welcome to call me or Jim Gallagher.

Please note: The FOP Crescent City Lodge cannot be held responsible if you do not receive the monthly newsletter email for some reason. You may want to consider whitelisting jim6411 at fopno.info if your email provider supports the maintenance of a whitelist. If you are not receiving the monthly newsletter email about 5 days before the scheduled meeting date, contact us and we can try to fix the problem.

Don’t miss out! Update your email address today! Good luck! Proud to be FOP!

NOPD Update 4-1-2020

As we move into April, it looks like the current circumstances are going to continue at least until the end of April. Please be careful and do not take any unnecessary risks. At the same time, I know that the NOPD is full of heroes who are interested in providing the best possible law enforcement services even in the face of this invisible threat. I am proud of all of you.

  • Civil Leave – If you were ordered by a supervisor to go home or stay home and that order is related to COVID-19, you should be carried Civil Leave. Special Order 6-2020 states that Civil Leave is available for anyone ordered to go home or stay home and if the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. However, after writing an email requesting clarification, particularly about employees ordered to go home and/or stay home but not experiencing symptoms, Chief Goodly called to let me know that those employees should also be carried Civil Leave. Civil Leave does not reduce your accumulated leave. If you were ordered to go home or stay home due to concerns about COVID-19 and you were carried sick or annual, you can write a 105 through your chain of command to the Superintendent explaining that your supervisor, insert name, ordered you to go home and/or stay home relative to COVID-19 and that you had been carried sick or annual. You can then request that the Superintendent change that from sick or annual to Civil Leave.
  • There is a 55-gallon drum of hand sanitizer available for officers at the Smoothie King Center on the floor of the arena. The hours of availability are unknown at present. Officers should use a spray bottle, if possible. It is very liquidy. UPDATE: 4-4-20 – I have been advised that individual NOPD officers cannot go to the Smoothie King Center to refill hand sanitizer bottles.
  • The FOP delivered gloves to the 8 district stations and SOD on March 31, 2020. We are expecting a shipment of surgical masks soon and we will distribute once we have them.
  • BDU’s start on Sunday (4/5/20). APE is open on Airline if you need it.
  • NOPD is still conducting formal administrative investigations. They are also still conducting extension hearings. It is my understanding that disciplinary hearings have been put on hold for the time being unless the officer requests that the hearing be expedited to facilitate retirement. Do not hesitate to call me about administrative statements, extension hearings, or any other issues related to the disciplinary process. I am available to assist you. PIB is also still delivering the occasional disciplinary letter. If you receive a disciplinary letter for something you want to appeal or exercise the salary reimbursement option for, please let me know.
  • The FOP Legal Defense Plan is still available to you for whatever you may need. The Legal Defense Plan includes free notary services, 2 hours of legal time per year for any personal legal matter, and 4 hours of legal time per year for family law matters. Of course, any administrative investigation, whether it is for an on-duty incident or an off-duty incident is covered with no out-of-pocket expense for FOP members. Criminal investigations related to on-duty incidents are also covered with no out-of-pocket expense for FOP members. Civil matters are also covered (call me). A number of the above only apply to members of the Crescent City Lodge #2.
  • The Louisiana FOP is conducting a survey relative to law enforcement officers’ experiences with COVID-19. If you have a chance to answer the survey questions, it would be helpful. It will not take long and does not collect any personal data or identifiable information. Click here to participate.
  • The FOP team stands ready to assist however we can. Even if you just want someone to voice your concerns to, feel free to call. The Chiefs have been very responsive to concerns I have brought to them. I think I have spoken with either Chief Noel or Chief Goodly every day since this has started. The administration is listening. Again, don’t hesitate to call me.
  • Please wash your hands for at least 20 seconds whenever possible. It is important to supplement hand sanitizer with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Try to avoid touching your face.

As I indicated above, I am available if there are any concerns you may have. The Department has made it so all property crimes without an arrest can be handled by telephone. The administration has also encouraged the use of summons whenever possible. Every close contact you have with another human being is a risk. Try to minimize your risk wherever possible.

Donovan

FOP Statement in Support of IAFF Local 632

On February 7, 2020, the leadership of IAFF Local 632, representing the firefighters of the New Orleans Fire Department, met with Mayor LaToya Cantrell, CAO Gilbert Montaño, and other New Orleans administration members. At that time, IAFF Local 632 President Aaron Mischler brought up matters previously agreed to by administration representatives at a prior meeting I attended on behalf of the Crescent City Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police. President Mischler stated that the senior administration officials disavowed agreements made by their representatives at the prior meeting I attended in November 2019. This disavowal led IAFF Local 632 members to declare that they would no longer be accepting off-duty details and extra-duty voluntary assignments.

The Crescent City Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, representing over 1,000 active NOPD officers, as well as another 1,000 retired members, support the actions taken by President Mischler on behalf of IAFF Local 632. The FOP is committed to maintaining the integrity of the New Orleans Civil Service system. The FOP supports the decision by IAFF Local 632 to insist that the administration honor its prior commitments.

The NOPD and the NOFD have been experiencing manpower shortages for several years now. Currently, the NOPD is still about 400 police officers short of manpower goals. The NOPD still lacks the resources necessary to provide the people of New Orleans with the level of service they are entitled to. After replacing long-tenured members of the Civil Service Commission, Mayor Landrieu’s new Commissioners passed new rules that touched on many aspects of public, civil service employment. Many of these rule changes came at the urging of the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region. The introduction of the political influence resulting in the adoption of these new rules and political influence in hiring and promotions are exactly what the civil service provisions in the Louisiana Constitution sought to prevent. Now, the CAO, a political appointee of the Mayor seeks to have unprecedented control over promotions through the use of unchecked authority. This is the kind of political instability that keeps us from reaching manpower goals.

It is crucial that we, the people who live, work, and visit New Orleans, strive to maintain the integrity of the civil service system in New Orleans. In private employment, hiring and promotion decisions made for political reasons, or other unknown, questionable reasons, are taken care of by the market by benefitting the competition. In public employment, there is no competition. There is no market to regulate questionable employment decisions. The Legislature and the people of Louisiana put the regulation in the Louisiana Constitution.

The Crescent City Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police urges the city administration and the members of the Civil Service Commission to seriously consider the years of experience in public service its members and the members of IAFF Local 632 have. Our interest is only to enable the NOPD and NOFD to provide the best service to the people who live in, work in, and visit the City of New Orleans and to work toward a fair and equitable system of employment as governed by the Louisiana Constitution.

The Fraternal Order of Police is the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 330,000 members in more than 2,200 lodges. There are about 6,000 FOP members in Louisiana, 2,000 of those in New Orleans. We are the voice of those who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving our communities. We are committed to improving the working conditions of law enforcement officers and the safety of those we serve through education, legislation, information, community involvement, and employee representation. No one knows the dangers and the difficulties faced by today’s police officers better than another officer, and no one knows police officers better than the FOP.

Donovan Livaccari
2/13/2020

Critical Incidents

There have already been two critical incidents in 2020. Whether you are inclined to believe these types of things come in 3’s or not, it can not hurt to be prepared. We have Mardi Gras around the corner, and the number of complaints has not declined in any meaningful way in New Orleans. So, better to be prepared.

The FOP Legal Defense Plan performed well, as usual. After receiving the call, I was able to get to the scene in a timely fashion to explain the process to the involved officers. My officers got everything done and are prepared for what’s to come. I made sure they understand that the FOP, in general, and I, specifically, will be with them until the conclusion of the investigation and anything else that potentially flows from the incident. For example, since the officers were placed on administrative reassignment, I made sure they were aware of the benefits provided by the FOP’s Family Fund for which they were eligible.

There were quite a few members of the most recently graduated Academy class who did not join the FOP yet. We thought that was because the recruits were erroneously being told they could not join while they were still in the Academy. Unfortunately, what I learned was that many had joined another organization because they (the other organization) had visited with the recruit class “so many times” that it seemed like the thing to do. Compared to the 15 minutes allocated to the FOP two days before graduation, it makes sense how that comes to be. Now, the FOP’s membership still includes more than 90% of all active police officers. So, history tells us that regardless of organizational affiliation on graduation day, veteran officers choose the FOP and the FOP Legal Defense Plan. I would not work a single day without the FOP’s Legal Defense Plan in my back pocket. There is no downside to exercising the right to counsel guaranteed by the Louisiana Police Officer’s Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

As usual, we are there for you. All you need to do is call, text, or call.