“Police department phones are issued to employees who are on-call or subject to call-out and who must have the phones with them at all times. There is no good reason to require those employees to carry two phones; one for business and one for personal use.”

– Chief Jim Pruetting

Cell phones and overtime policies were part of the Nov. 16 memorandum released by Rich Melton, councilman, during the Jan. 3 discussion regarding a possible reporting change for the police department.
The memo was a working document and would not have been subject to the Kansas Open Records Act if it had not been presented in open session. Jim Pruetting, police chief, acknowledged giving the document Melton.
Under an ordinance passed in 1982, and as specified in the city administrator’s current four year contract, the GPD reports to the city administrator. A change in reporting structure was first mentioned in mid-2016; however, during that period five council meetings were cancelled, and the discussion had not made it to an agenda. The majority of the meetings were cancelled due to council attendance issues. In addition, the police advisory committee, of which Melton is ex officio, had last met in September.
The released memorandum from Pruetting to Alan Abramovitz, human resources manager, is only one part of an ongoing discussion among department heads regarding proposed policy changes and does not provide the original document, response, or other directors’ input.
Abramovitz took issue with the document’s release during open session saying his opinion of Pruettng as a peer had been negatively impacted.
Why the document was presented in open session prior to completion was not stated. After completion, it would have been presented in upcoming council meetings.

Overtime pay
In the memo, Pruetting questions the city’s proposed overtime policy, call back minimums and the assumption of Monday thru Friday workweek.
He suggests two hour call back minimums and an ability to adjust workweek schedules to account for planned work days on the weekends.
In addition, Pruetting says he attended a conference over a weekend in October and his request to move work days was denied. “My request to move work days to Saturday and Sunday and those days off to a week day within the pay period was denied,” Pruetting writes.
He suggests exempt employees be allowed to adjust their workweek schedules to account for planned work days on the weekend. Police officers are non-exempt employees, so it would not apply to them.

Cell phone policy
Pruetting indicates concern regarding the city’s phone policy which prohibits the use of cell phones while driving. He cites data indicating cell phone use with hands-free devices does not create a safety issue. He suggests hands-free devices be allowed.
“Talking on a cell phone, regardless of the type of interface, was not associated with an increased SCE (safety critical event). . . “Pruetting writes.
He also suggests police officers be allowed to use city-issued cell phones for personal use and should not have to carry two phones (business and personal).
“Police Department phones are issued to employees who are on-call or subject to call-out and who must have the phones with them at all times,” he writes. “There is no good reason to require those employees to carry two phones; one for business and one for personal use.”
In the memo, Pruetting also mention contributions to the GPD’s retirement benefits, and potential changes to leave time.
Sections regarding the GPD’s rules of conduct and “insubordination” was not supplied by city staff.