[an error occurred while processing this directive]

I-Team: Battle Creek facing more overtime allegations

Updated: Friday, January 3, 2014 |
I-Team: Battle Creek facing more overtime allegations story image
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The Newschannel 3 I-Team is learning the City of Battle Creek will soon be writing hundreds of checks to its employees for back pay.

Over the summer, we broke the news that the Department of Labor was investigating Battle Creek's payroll practices.

They ruled the city had been paying overtime to its firefighters incorrectly for decades.

Now, Battle Creek and its firefighters are locked in litigation over back pay.

Since then, the DOL has opened its investigation to every Battle Creek city department, and now it appears the city will have to open the checkbook again.

There are approximately 370 active, hourly Battle Creek employees who could be receiving checks, plus anyone who has retired in the last two years.

Sources inside the city estimate the total payout will be in the low six figures for errors in overtime payment.

Thursday night, however, we also learned that there are also allegations of not payroll errors, but payroll fraud.

City Manager Ken Tsuchiyama says he learned of the latest payroll errors just before the holidays.

"If we're making mistakes, we're not willfully making them," he said. "If there's things we need to correct we're happy to correct them."

Thursday night, Battle Creek Employee Services assured us payroll corrections have been made to address the errors in overtime pay.

The Department of Labor says Battle Creek's payroll practices have been short changing hourly employees for years.

And now there are new, more serious allegations of payroll fraud coming from hourly employees inside City Hall.

Employees have told us and DOL investigators their time cards were consistently manipulated to reflect later start times.

"If that's the case we need to make sure that you know that doesn't happen unless there is truly an error in the time card to begin with," Tsuchiyama said.

Time cards are handled by the City Treasurer's office.

We contacted the Battle Creek City Treasurer Thursday afternoon to ask about these allegations.

She directed us to the City Manager's office.

Tsuchiyama says the Department of Labor is handling time card tampering allegations and no action will be taken until that investigation is complete.

As for the back payment due to hourly workers, Battle Creek Employee Services Director Russ Claggett says the city is supposed to have a final figure from the Department of Labor in seven to ten days.
comments powered by Disqus
advertisement

What do you want to see?

If you have a story idea for the I-Team, you can contact us using the form below or by calling 269-388-4612.
Please re-enter the code shown in the image below.

Business News

Last Update on January 27, 2015 08:27 GMT

ECONOMY-THE-DAY-AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve policymakers will have a batch of fresh data to consider as they begin a two-day meeting to look at interest rates.

The Commerce Department releases December data on durable goods order this morning. Factory orders slumped in November, largely due to falling demand in the military and defense sectors. But a key category that economists view as a proxy for business investment spending was flat after declines the previous two months.

Also this morning, Standard & Poor's releases the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for November. The rise in prices slowed in October amid falling real estate sales. New home sales were down in November, and the Commerce Department will offer December sales figures this morning.

And the Conference Board releases its Consumer Confidence Index for January this morning. December's report showed growing optimism.

Also today, there's a full lineup of corporate earnings reports expected today. DuPont, American Airlines, Caterpillar, Procter & Gamble, 3M and Pfizer all report quarterly financial results before the market opens. Apple, Amgen, AT&T and Yahoo release results after the market closes.

BUDGET DEFICIT

WASHINGTON (AP) --The Congressional Budget Office says the federal budget deficit will shrink this year to its lowest level since President Barack Obama took office.

CBO says the deficit will be $468 billion for the budget year that ends in September. That's slightly less than last year's $483 billion deficit.

As a share of the economy, CBO says this year's deficit will be slightly below the historical average of the past 50 years.

In a report released Monday, the agency projects solid economic growth for the next few years. The official scorekeeper of Congress also expects unemployment to drop slightly.

Beyond 2018, CBO projects deficits to start rising again as more baby boomers retire and enroll in Social Security and Medicare.

NORTH DAKOTA SALTWATER SPILL

MARMON, N.D. (AP) -- The Environmental Protection Agency says more than 4 million gallons of a mixture of fresh water, brine and oil have been pumped from the area affected by the largest saltwater spill of North Dakota's current energy boom.

The federal agency made public on Monday an assessment on the nearly 3 million-gallon spill of saltwater generated by oil drilling that leaked from a ruptured pipeline. Operator Summit Midstream Partners LLC detected the spill Jan. 6, but it's still unclear exactly when it occurred and what caused it.

Saltwater, also known as brine, is an oil-production byproduct that's considered an environmental hazard.

The EPA also says dams are being constructed in case water levels rise as ice melts, and to contain the drainage of saltwater.

ARCTIC OFFSHORE LEASING

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Alaska's congressional delegation is expecting the federal government to pull additional areas from consideration for Arctic Ocean offshore drilling when it announces a five-year drilling plan.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she was briefed last week by the Interior Department on the upcoming drilling plan.

Federal waters used by subsistence hunters are other areas that were excluded from leasing in past sales. Murkowski says she was told those exclusions could be made permanent and additional areas pulled from consideration.

She's says that's another blow to development in the state, which already is suffering with the drop in oil prices.

Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan and U.S. Rep. Don Young spoke at a news conference in Washington, D.C., to state their objections to pursue a wilderness designation for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

CONGRESS-KEYSTONE

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democrats have temporarily stalled progress on a bill to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the top priority of the Republican-controlled Congress.

The Senate voted 53-39 Monday to cut off debate on the bill, in a procedural vote. That's short of the 60 votes needed.

The vote caps a partisan dispute over the time granted to consider amendments to the bill.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to move to pass the legislation, which has enough support. Democrats argued they needed more time to debate additions.

Some Democrats who had supported previous bills approving the pipeline, including one of the bill's current sponsors, helped filibuster the move to limit debate.

PORT LABOR

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- West Coast dockworkers and their employers have resolved a key dispute in new contract talks.

A spokesman for the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents operators of port terminals, says companies and union negotiators reached a tentative agreement on whether the union would maintain and repair truck beds that haul containers that have been unloaded from ships.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union had no immediate comment.

Who handles truck chasses emerged as a stumbling block in contract talks. The union wanted those jobs, partly because automation at seaports could erode its membership.

Cargo has been moving slowly through West Coast ports, which link the U.S. to Asia. Employers say workers are slowing down; workers blame employers, citing the outsourcing of chassis repair as one problem.

WINTER WEATHER-UBER-LYFT

NEW YORK (AP) -- Want a ride home from car service Uber during the major snowstorm descending on the Northeast? Expect to pay more than the usual fare.

Still, after taking heat for big price increases during past storms, Uber has capped how much prices can rise in U.S. cities during disasters or emergencies.

In New York City, surge pricing will be capped at 2.8 times -- nearly triple -- the normal fare. The San Francisco company is also planning to donate the proceeds after paying drivers to the American Red Cross. That's part of its nationwide policy during disasters and emergencies after criticism when prices surged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

At smaller rival Lyft, prices never go higher than three times the regular rate.

advertisement