News and Tribune

January 29, 2014

New Albany police officer files grievance over time off

Pearman claims he could have worked light duty

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — A New Albany Police Department officer is requesting his sick days be restored and that he be paid for salary lost after he wasn’t allowed to work light duty following an injury.

The New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety accepted a complaint from NAPD Officer Josh Pearman Tuesday and slated an executive session for next week to discuss the grievance.

Pearman — who is unable to discuss the issue due to the pending decision as well as his position as an officer — was joined during the meeting by NAPD Sgt. John Hall, who is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 99.

The board didn’t discuss the matter, but Hall summarized the complaint following the meeting. He said Pearman had to take time off from work after what was considered a non-work related injury. Pearman requested to be put on light duty and to perform office work, but the NAPD administration declined his request, according to Hall.

Pearman first used his remaining sick days while he was off but eventually had to accept short-term disability pay, which was about 50 percent of his normal earnings, Hall said.

When Pearman returned to work, there was another officer who Hall declined to name who had a similar injury to his. According to Hall, that officer was allowed to work light duty as Pearman had requested.

“You have to treat everyone equal,” Hall said. “You can’t pick and choose who you grant light duty to and who you don’t.”

No board of works members or police officials present addressed the complaint Tuesday. City Attorney Stan Robison requested the board schedule an executive session immediately following this Tuesday’s meeting, which was approved by the body.

Robison was not immediately available Tuesday afternoon when the News and Tribune attempted to reach him for comment.

Hall said the complaint is Pearman’s and not a union grievance, but he added the union supports Pearman’s case.

Pearman has requested to be compensated for the salary he lost while receiving short-term disability, and has also requested the sick days he used be restored.

Hall declined to specifically name Pearman’s injury, but hinted that it could have been the result of his work though he didn’t receive worker’s compensation for his time off.

“The type of injury he had could have easily occurred at work,” Hall said.

Pearman apparently missed work in December, though the exact dates and amount of time he missed were not released.

The board of works, according to the city’s contract with the FOP, has 15 days to rule on a grievance after it has been submitted.