November 12, 2012

Logansport attorney looking into vacation pay issue

Retired police officers ask city for same amount firefighters won in suit

by Caitlin Huston

LOGANSPORT — Logansport City Attorney Randy Head says he’s looking into the issue of two former police officers’ vacation pay after one of the officers asked the city council members last week whether she would be able to receive the same money firefighters received in the lawsuit settlement. 

Cathi Collins and Wes Peters were part of the 2010 early retirement buyout that caused seven firefighters to file suit against the city, asking for vacation pay they felt they were owed. The city settled with the firefighters in September and their attorney received $75,000 to cover his fee and to be split among the firefighters. 

At last week’s council meeting, Collins said she believed she and Peters should be able to receive the same amount the firefighters received. She said she had asked for answer within 30 days, but had not received one.  

If she did not receive an answer after the meeting, Collins said, she and Peters would take legal action. 

Interviewed Thursday, Collins said she spoke to Head after the meeting but that they had not set up a meeting with anyone from the city so far. 

Head, who initially represented the seven firefighters in the case but had to remove himself from the case when he took the city attorney appointment, said he was still researching the issue. He said he would respond on behalf of the city and that he did not yet know when he would issue the response.

“I think it’s more important to get it right than to do it by a timeline,” he said. 

Collins would not comment on whether she or Peters were filing suit.

Mayor Ted Franklin said he was leaving the matter with Head. 

“At this point, with the threatening litigation, I’m out of it,” Franklin said.  

He added, however, that he believed Collins and Peters had received vacation pay for 2011, because both worked into 2012. 

“I think their request is to receive vacation pay in 2012,” Franklin said. 

Collins would not say which year her request involved, but she said her claim was the same as the firefighters. 

“We’re asking for the same thing that the fire department got,” Collins said.  

Franklin added that he believes the city ordinance may affect whether the police officers are entitled to vacation pay. 

“The ordinance, any way it’s looked at, is clear that once they leave employment of the city, there’s nothing else that follows them,” Franklin said. 

Under city ordinance 2004-57, “rest and recreation leave shall not be accumulative and shall be taken in the year for which it was earned.”

Franklin added that it would be the city council that would have to appropriate the money if there were a settlement. 

“In the end it’s not the mayor’s decision, it’s the City Council,” Franklin said. 

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or