Morgantown settles dispute with MPD officers

Details of the settlement agreement between a number of Morgantown Police Department officers and the City of Morgantown were released this week, ending a two-year battle regarding officer compensation and other issues. 

As part of the settlement, the city agreed to pay the officers a total of $180,000 within 30 days of the agreement. 

The majority of that total, $98,500, will be divided among the 43 officers listed on the 2022 lawsuit with an additional $21,500 distributed evenly for alleged emotional and compensatory non-economic damages. 

The remaining $60,000 will cover the officers’ attorney fees and costs to Toriseva Law, PLLC. 

A secondary issue surrounding officer paid time off (PTO) was also settled, providing officers with two types of PTO moving forward. 

The first type, when used, will count toward officers’ threshold for overtime entitlement and the second will not. The city will be responsible for addressing the PTO provisions in its personnel policies. 

The change will become effective July 1 and any current PTO balances officers have will be split evenly between the two PTO types. 

In the agreement, the city also agreed to amend its classification and compensation program to provide that a police first sergeant, when promoted, will have his or her hourly pay increased to the nearest grade and step in the city pay plan. 

Any first sergeants that held the position prior to July 1, 2023, will receive a lump sum of $2,500. Those entering the position after July 1, 2023 will receive a prorated sum based on their time in the position. 

Due to the settlement, the officers’ current legal actions pending against the City of Morgantown will be dismissed. These actions include the 2022 lawsuits Brandon Viola, et al. v. The City of Morgantown and Monongalia-Preston Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #87 v. The City of Morgantown. 

The officers’ September 2022 “Demand for Mandatory Public Hearing before the Civil Service Commission Regarding the Illegal Reduction in Pay Caused by a New Pay and Compensation Scheme that Affects Civil Service Employees of the Morgantown Police Department” will also be dismissed. 

While they are agreeing to the terms, the settlement clarifies the City of Morgantown denies any liability to, or wrongful acts, against the officers and no findings of fact or conclusions have been made concerning the merit of lack of merit of the officers’ claims. 

A predetermined, joint statement from the two parties reads: 

“We are pleased to announce that, through continued discussions, all pending litigation between the City of Morgantown and a number of City of Morgantown Police Officers has been resolved, and the City and its Police Officers look forward to continuing to cooperate to serve the citizens of Morgantown.  

“Through their discussions, both City management and the officers have gained a better appreciation of the positions of one another and their respective duties to the public for fiscal responsibility and the safety and well-being of the public they serve. We look forward to working together to meet those goals and responsibilities as we move forward.” 

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