Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the matter was “overlooked.”
But, for nearly 100 Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents, it represents the loss of nearly $2,000 each stemming from the disappearance for three straight years of their $650 annual clothing allowance.
When DeWine’s office and the Fraternal Order of Police-represented BCI agents renewed their contract in mid-2015, the provision concerning the cash allowance for clothing for court appearances was not updated to reflect the years covered in the new three-year contract.
When the money, totaling about $65,000, didn’t show up in paychecks in early 2016 — and DeWine’s office declined to correct the oversight — two BCI agents filed a grievance over not receiving what had been a fixture in their contract for 19 years.
An arbitrator ordered DeWine’s office to pay the money in a ruling issued on Nov. 21, 2016, finding that it had signaled no intent to end clothing allowances, bargained in bad faith and violated the contract and state law by not reinstating the benefit.
DeWine’s office appealed the ruling to Franklin County Common Pleas Court, and Judge Kimberly Cocroft set aside the ruling on April 5, finding that the arbitrator had acted illegally because he had no authority to modify the terms of the contract.
The FOP now is asking the Franklin County Court of Appeals to reverse the judge’s ruling, clearing the way for a $1,950 retroactive payment to 95 BCI agents and four other covered employees. Though not in the bargaining unit, 14 BCI supervisors also had been receiving the clothing allowance before its sudden end.