Amherst County Dispatchers Questioning Overtime Pay

Amherst, VA - Amherst County dispatchers could soon find out if they're owed years worth of unpaid overtime.

A company, hired by the county to study the issue, is scheduled to release its findings on July 2.

Public safety Director Gary Roakes says there's no question that dispatchers work more than 40 hours a week. The employee's generally work 36 hours up to 48 hours a week.

Roakes says sworn officers and firefighters are sometimes excluded from receiving overtime. The question for the consultant group is whether civilians are excluded, as well.

Roakes explains different overtime laws apply to different departments.

"For a non-sworn employee there are certain laws you have to follow. For law enforcement there's certain laws you have to follow. And for EMS there's certain laws you have to follow," Roakes added.

As it stands, Amherst County dispatchers work 48 hours every other week.

Roakes says since taking over as public safety director, they've never received overtime. When the county cut the amount of paid vacation a year and half ago, though, the overtime issue was brought up.

Last fall, the county hired Springsted, a public sector advisory company, to look into the issue.

"That's what this meeting is about on July the 2, to have all the parties there to say hey, this was right or this was wrong. And if it is wrong, what do we need to do to correct it," said Roakes.

For dispatchers employed for the last 10 years, it could mean a tremendous amount of money in back-pay.

"We want to make sure that we treat our employees correctly, we treat them fairly and provide them with a good working environment," added Roakes.