$70,000 transferred to cover public safety office overtime

An increase in overtime spending for public safety officers in Columbus for the remainder of 2017 has been approved.

Columbus City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved hiking the city’s overtime budgets by $70,000 for the police and fire departments. The money that was approved will be transferred from within the respective department’s personnel budgets, said Mary Ferdon, executive director of administration and community development.

Of the $70,000 tied to overtime, $40,000 of that is designated for the fire department due to the unexpected retirements of four firefighters and covering for three firefighters on military training leave. The $30,000 for the police department is to ensure the agency is adequately covered in potential overtime through the end of the year, Police Chief Jon Rohde said in an earlier interview.

Resident David Jones was the lone individual who questioned council members about the transfer of money and whether they knew what line item it was coming from. Ferdon told Jones the transfer was coming from designated salary line items.

City Councilman Frank Jerome questioned whether police and fire personnel are required to give advance notice of their retirements. However, City Attorney Alan Whitted said that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Any money that isn’t spent by the end of the year will be placed back into the city’s general fund reserves, city officials said.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com