Sheriff Garrett Wiggins asks Routt County commissioners for new lieutenant position
March 25, 2013
Steamboat Springs — The Routt County Board of Commissioners is leaning toward approving the request of Sheriff Garrett Wiggins to promote a sergeant to the new position of patrol lieutenant, but a potential issue with the job description is likely to require some attention.
Routt County Human Resources Director Chris Hensen and County Manager Tom Sullivan told the commissioners Monday they were not comfortable with the job description as written because it would create a lieutenant who would be eligible for overtime, when the only other lieutenant at the Sheriff's Office is exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Wiggins told the commissioners Monday of his need for a flex position that would allow a patrol-level sergeant be promoted to take some of the pressure off his investigators during the busiest times of year, as well as relieve other patrol sergeants of administrative chores that have too often taken them out of their patrol cars.
"Last summer it was very rare that the investigators were getting any time off," Wiggins said. "Our guys were just getting slammed. At times it was almost overwhelming. … We're not asking for an additional employee, but pulling someone off patrol."
Wiggins envisions that the new lieutenant, who would cost the county about $7,500 more in salary and benefits, could fill in for investigators and relieve the sergeants of some of their desk work while reverting to patrol duties about 62 percent of the time.
However, Hensen said the new position as written would not be exempt from overtime, potentially creating an inconsistency with the other lieutenant's job at the jail.
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"I reviewed the job description and the Fair Labor Standards Act exemption criteria and discussed the duties that the position is expected to perform," Hensen wrote in a memo. "As written, the primary duty of the position is not the management of a customarily recognized department or unit … thus the position would be non-exempt under the FLSA and subject to payment for overtime."
Hensen noted that the detention lieutenant is a woman, creating the possibility that inconsistent job descriptions for two lieutenants could be characterized as a gender issue.
Sullivan recommended that the new job description as written be for an employee at the sergeant level, or it should be re-written to fit a lieutenant's role.
"The request for the new position creates an FLSA overtime non-exempt position due to the primary (patrol) duties as written; while the detention position is approved as FLSA overtime exempt. The two lieutenant positions are to be on the same pay scale, but one will be eligible for overtime or compensating time off, while the other will not," Sullivan wrote in a memo. "I believe the patrol (lieutenant) position should be written and managed so that the primary duties are managerial and high level administrative."
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com