Fort Myers city workers fed up: What they found out after Hurricane Ian

Reporter: Michael Hudak Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
Police cars on the scene after Hurricane Ian. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Fort Myers city employees are furious after finding out they stopped getting disaster pay at the beginning of October.

Emergency pay is typically given out after disasters because of strenuous work hours. However, a memo was sent out and said that pay ended on Oct. 3.

Police officers are planning on fighting this because they believe they’re not getting paid for how much they’re working.

Kevin Anderson, the mayor of Fort Myers made it crystal clear when he said that every police officer and every city employee is going to get paid for every hour they worked. It does not matter if you worked 300 hours you will get paid for every one of those hours.

Fort Myers police officers working during the aftermath of Ian. (CREDIT: WINK News)

But, how much they will get paid and what the rate of their pay will be is up to the department you work for.

It all started when Anderson declared a local state of emergency on Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. That was less than two days before Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida.

When a state of emergency is called then a policy called “Disaster/emergency compensation” springs into effect. That means that if you’re working, you’re making even more money than you would be during regular overtime. For members of the Fort Myers police, they start getting paid double time-and-a-half.

Destruction caused by Hurricane Ian. (CREDIT: WINK News)

When the policy ends that pay is no longer in effect. That happens when the mayor or the city council determines the city is open for business, and that happened on Monday, Oct. 4.

And while the state of emergency doesn’t end, the “Disaster/emergency compensation,” does end when the city opens up.

That information is public policy, but the mayor believes that either a miscommunication or some type of confusion led to the information being brand new for many city employees. One group that’s on that list is police officers working for the Fort Myers Police Department.

He said that there was so much confusion and so little knowledge of that policy that the director of human resources for the city sent out a memo to all department directors reminding them of the policy.

But, the mayor has stated that he does not fault people for not knowing the policy.

WINK News asked the mayor if the city opens up does it therefore follow that the emergency has ended and if he thinks the policy needs to change?

Anderson explained, he is open to talking about it because a memo like the one sent might instead need to be sent out before the disaster hits as a reminder, rather than after the disaster strikes.

Inside the discussion about disaster pay at City Hall in Fort Myers. (CREDIT: WINK News)

WINK News is not alone in discussing this matter at City Hall on Monday. There are reportedly officers from agencies across the city who are concerned about what’s going on with this situation. Those officers will be voicing their concerns at the city council meeting Monday evening.

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