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I-Team: City of Battle Creek caught in overtime flap

Updated: Saturday, August 3, 2013 |
I-Team: City of Battle Creek caught in overtime flap story image
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - In an exclusive I-Team investigation, Newschannel 3 found that the City of Battle Creek owes its employees hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it's to be paid by the end of June.

But that could just be the tip of the iceberg.

The Department of Labor says Battle Creek has not been paying overtime to its firefighters correctly for years, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act, and payments from around $200 up to nearly $7,000 will be made to 80 firefighters.

But Battle Creek has more than 500 employees, and every city department is being investigated.

We contacted every City Commissioner Tuesday evening, but no one we got through to was aware of the investigation.

The Department of Labor investigation involved Battle Creek Fire, Police, and every hourly city employee.

City Manager Ken Tsuchiyama says that so far, Battle Creek firefighters are owed more than $253,000 in retroactive overtime from October 2010 to October 2012.

Sources say the mistakes in overtime pay go back as far as 20 years, and one source even told Newschannel 3 that the fire department offered to settle the matter for a couple million dollars before the investigation was final.

The Department of Labor only requires two years of back pay, but sources inside the fire department are hoping the city will go beyond that to "make things right."

Tsuchiyama says city leaders will be meeting with the Department of Labor again in a few weeks to discuss the investigations into the other city departments.

He says that's when they expect to learn how much more money Battle Creek will owe its employees.

In the meantime, we have reached out to the Department of Labor, and we are requesting a copy of its investigation.

As soon as we have more information, we will pass it along.
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