Cops in Murky Bonus Situation

Posted January 30, 2009 at 6:32pm

Two weeks after President Barack Obama was sworn in, Capitol Police employees are still unsure whether they will get holiday pay for working on Inauguration Day.

Such bonuses are normal in local and federal agencies during a federal holiday, and other area law enforcement agencies say they are paying their officers extra for their work on Inauguration Day.

But this year, Capitol Police officials are staying silent — at least to the press — and declining to specify who will get the bonus and who won’t.

“They’re internal personnel matters, and we’re not going to discuss it,” said Sgt. Jessica Baboulis, a Capitol Police spokeswoman. She also declined to say how much employees would be paid if they receive the holiday pay.

The uncertainty has angered officers and civilian employees alike.

Many worked a 16-hour day on Jan. 20 — and some officers clocked in more than 50 hours of overtime during a two-week pay period.

In the past, those who worked the inauguration got the bonus, and many assumed this year would be no different.

This year’s inauguration appeared to entail more effort and costs than in the past. Officials estimate that 1.8 million people showed up, and on the Capitol grounds, officers were faced with endless lines and large crowds. Thousands of ticket-holders never made it in the gate.

Several officers also said the department spent more time and money preparing for this inauguration than for ones in the past. That means more overtime for officers — who also possibly got holiday pay on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which landed this year on the day before the inauguration.

On Friday, employees had different impressions on whether the extra pay would be coming through.

One officer said he had “heard through the grapevine” that the force would get the bonus, though he hadn’t heard anything official.

But a civilian employee said his supervisor had announced at Friday’s roll call that his division, which worked on Jan. 20, wouldn’t be getting holiday pay — despite officials saying earlier that all employees would get the bonus.

There appears to be no confusion at other law enforcement agencies, however, about the extra pay.

The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is giving double time — up to eight hours — to all employees, spokeswoman Traci Hughes said. After eight hours, employees get time and a half, she said.

Every Secret Service employee working on the inauguration also will get holiday pay, spokesman Malcolm Wiley said.

“Consistent with the [Office of Personnel Management’s] designation of the 20th as a holiday for Washington, the Secret Service personnel were given holiday pay,” he said.