BEFORE THE ARBITRATOR
In the Matter of the Arbitration of a Dispute Between
OSHKOSH CITY EMPLOYEE UNION
LOCAL 796, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
CITY OF OSHKOSH
(Fenrich Out-Of-Class Pay Grievance)
Mr. Richard C. Badger, Staff Representative, Wisconsin Council
AFL-CIO, appearing on behalf of the Union.
Mr. William Bracken, appearing on behalf of the City.
The above-captioned parties, herein "Union" and "City", are
signatories to a
collective bargaining agreement providing for final and binding arbitration. Pursuant
thereto, hearing was held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on December 9, 1998. There, the parties
presented oral arguments in lieu of filing briefs and I there issued a "bench" decision, which
this Award augments.
Grievant David Fenrich, a Groundsperson, has been employed by the City since
In that role, he sometimes works on the water system and assists employes classified as
Parks Trades Technicians, a task that requires step-up pay under the contract if he works in
that capacity for ten or more consecutive days.
The City on May 12, 1997 (unless otherwise stated, all dates hereinafter refer to
1997), promulgated a Change of Status Notice which reclassified Fenrich from a
Groundsperson to a Parks Trades Technician and which also upgraded him from pay
to pay range 6, thereby increasing his wages by about $30 in every two-week pay period.
Fenrich did not sign said Change of Status Notice even though there is a place for his
signature on the Notice and he was not informed of that change when it was implemented.
Hence, he did not become aware of his changed pay status until the City told him about it
Dennis Behnke, the new Parks Supervisor, learned about Fenrich's changed status
and higher pay in January, 1998. The City investigated the situation and lowered Fenrich
to pay range 4 at the beginning of 1998. In order to recoup the $395.20 it perceived to be
an overpayment between July and December, 1997, the City pursuant to Fenrich's
deducted 25.9 hours of compensatory time from Fenrich's compensatory time bank
that equalled the $395.20 in question. The Union grieved the City's attempt to recoup
Fenrich's past wages, but it did not contest the City's right to reclassify him to the lower pay
As I related at the hearing, it is impossible to achieve perfect justice in this case
because on the one hand it was the City, not Fenrich, that initially erred in making the
overpayment here and because on the other hand Fenrich is not entitled to a windfall by
receiving extra compensation to which he was not entitled. Hence, the best that can be done
here is to find that the City must restore the 25.9 hours of compensatory time it took from
Fenrich, with the further understanding that the City for the next three years can assign
Fenrich to perform the duties of the higher paid Parks Trades Technician without paying him
the range 6 step-up pay. In that way, Fenrich gets to keep the compensatory time that was
taken from him and the City gets the opportunity to get something of value in return by
having Fenrich perform higher-rated duties at his current range 4 wage rate.
Lastly, it should be noted that this Award is limited to the highly unique facts of this
case and that, as a result, it should not serve as precedent in any future case.
Dated at Madison, Wisconsin this 4th day of January, 1999.
Amedeo Greco /s/
Amedeo Greco, Arbitrator