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Chicago Police puts in first NATO overtime bill: $14.6 million

Protesters police clash during an anti-NATO rally S. Michigan Ave. Cermak Rd. Sunday May 20 2012 Chicago. | John J.

Protesters and police clash during an anti-NATO rally at S. Michigan Ave. and Cermak Rd. Sunday, May 20, 2012, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 1, 2012 6:11AM

The Chicago Police Department spent $14.6 million on overtime for the 3,100 police officers who worked 12-hour shifts during the NATO Summit, according to the first of several reimbursement requests the city is expected to make to the state and federal governments.

Police overtime dominates Chicago’s initial reimbursement request for $15.6 million, which City Hall sources said represents more than half the costs incurred by the city during the May 20-21 summit of world leaders at McCormick Place that shined an international spotlight on Chicago.

The city’s initial request does not include every penny of police overtime, nor does it include, what is expected to be a huge tab to train Chicago Police officers for NATO duty to handle demonstrators, including Black Bloc members who tried to provoke them. The police training was more extensive than any in recent memory.

Training for Chicago firefighters and paramedics totals $870,950 in the city’s first request for payment.

Fire Department overtime accounts for just $88,777.

The city’s initial request for $15.6 million would be drawn from several different sources.

The largest chunk — $7.5 million — would be drawn from funds earmarked for so-called “National Special Security Events.” That’s a designation normally reserved for the Olympics, the Super Bowl and the Democratic and Republican national conventions.

The city’s request also includes:

$1.97 million from a NATO Host Committee that raised $33 million from corporate donors.

$5.12 million in federal Urban Areas Security Initiative grants for 2008, 2009 and 2010.

$1.23 million in funds earmarked for port security.

And $261,048 in mass transit security funds.

The Emanuel administration released the information on Friday, typically a day when City Hall puts out news it wants buried, in response to a Freedom of Information request filed last month by the Chicago Sun-Times.

City Hall did not release the information the newspaper requested for the number of city employees who worked during the summit and the individual overtime payments to those workers.

Emanuel has repeatedly promised that Chicago taxpayers would not bear the cost of the NATO Summit, saying the entire tab would be reimbursed by federal funds and corporate donors.

An estimated 3,100 officers were assigned to NATO duty. They were assisted by 700 troopers from the Illinois State Police, dozens of suburban officers and by police officers from Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy canceled days off and ordered all officers to work 12-hour shifts to devote extraordinary police resources to the summit and still provide a 15 percent increase in neighborhood police protection.

McCarthy’s leadership on the front lines in helping to diffuse a potentially volatile confrontation with “Black Bloc” provocateurs at Michigan and Cermak has turned him into a folk hero. At a City Council meeting earlier this month, aldermen made comparisons to the movie, “Braveheart,” drawing a comic rebuke from Emanuel.

“Since I have to talk to Garry McCarthy every morning, I would prefer neither [comparisons to the movie] `Braveheart’ nor George Washington going forward,” Emanuel said.

Chicago’s wiry mayor then disclosed that he lost five pounds during the summit — “my NATO diet,” as he put it — because of the “incredible amount of preparation” that went into summit planning with a dose of worry thrown in.

“I took a risk in asking for the largest NATO conference in the 63-year history of NATO….I do know who would have taken responsibility if it wasn’t done right. I did it because I wanted to elevate Chicago on the world stage and show that we were a world-class city,” the mayor said.

“Our law enforcement and our entire city showed that we are a world class city that can perform on the world stage…We wrote a new chapter in the history of this city. We have turned the page from what happened in the past and Chicago has become the new gold standard of what to do — not what not to do.”

A few weeks ago, the Fraternal Order of Police filed its fourth NATO-related class-action grievance, this one stemming from the city’s apparent decision not to compensate officers for working a sixth or seventh consecutive day during a single calendar week.

Notice of it was posted on the FOP website under the facetious headline, “More Thanks for a Job Well Done.”

City Hall sources have insisted that the sixth and seventh day controversy stems from the union’s claim that officers who normally work a Monday-through-Friday shift and got called in on Sunday be paid time-and-a-half on both Sunday and Friday. The city maintains that Friday should be straight-time.

The union had earlier filed three other NATO-related grievances.

One stemmed from what the Emanuel administration has called a “paperwork error” created by giving officers who worked overtime during the summit overtime forms with the “pay” box already checked instead of allowing them to choose between pay and comp time, as the contract requires.

Another contested the city’s decision to cancel furloughs during a two-week period that coincides with the summit. Yet another other was filed to ensure “correct compensation” for officers who worked a regular tour of duty during the summit but had their hours adjusted by more than two hours from the designated start time of their normal watch.

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