The city is appealing a recent Civil Service Commission decision that gave a group of veteran New Orleans police captains who conduct internal investigations of other officers a pay hike for doing the unpopular work.
The captains — a group of officers who are out of favor with the New Orleans Police Department’s administration — have worked the past two years out of a trailer next to the department’s horse stables in City Park. As members of the Administrative Support Unit, they investigate allegations about fellow officers, much like their counterparts in the NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau.
The ASU staff, however, did not get an automatic pay boost those assigned to PIB get. About a month ago, the Civil Service Commission issued a decision that sided with 10 captains and one major who argued they were entitled to the 10 percent pay supplement.
The officers who were moved to the office created in April 2011 said the move was retaliation or age discrimination to try to drive them into retirement.
The department said the division was created to “improve efficiency” by centralizing “administrative functions.”
Capts. Gary Gremillion, Bruce Adams, Norvel Orazio, Michael Glasser, Harry Mendoza, Bruce Little, William Ceravolo, Simon Hargrove, James Scott and Frederick Morton and Maj. Raymond Burkart Jr. in March 2012 filed a complaint with civil service.
Gremillion, Orazio and Mendoza have since retired.
The city filed its notice of appeal to the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeal on Friday.
Raymond Burkart III, an attorney for the New Orleans Fraternal Order of Police, who represented the officers, one of whom is his father, on Monday said the city’s decision to appeal was not surprising. But he emphasized that the NOPD did not prove during a previous Civil Service Commission trial that the officers, known as Integrity Control Officers, are not doing work similar to those in PIB.
“In the city’s zeal to punish, embarrass and tarnish these officers, they in effect actually rewarded them by giving them PIB work,” Burkart said.
The NOPD has argued that the unit’s officers investigate cases that are not as serious as those PIB handles. Because of that, the department said, the officers do not deserve extra money.
The city on Monday did not respond to a request for comment about its appeal.
In its ruling, the Civil Service Commission said that the officers provided “exhaustive, unrefuted testimony supported by reliable evidence that they spend a vast majority of their time conducting internal investigations.
“In fact, the complainants provided ample evidence that they actually conduct more internal investigations than those individuals assigned to PIB,” the decision read.
The commission decided the ASU officers were entitled to the 10 percent pay increase retroactive to the reassignments that began more than two years ago.