City settles pay issue with police chief


Grand Coulee’s council made it a “happy new year” for Police Chief Mel Hunt last Wednesday, when in a special meeting it voted to buy up 787 hours of his compensatory time for $42,922.50, according to city officials.

In a document signed by Hunt and Mayor Chris Christopherson, Sept. 2, 2011, the city had agreed to 787 hours of compensatory time dating from March 25, 1976, the beginning of Hunt’s employment, to Aug. 1, 2011.

Compensatory time is figured at time and one-half the regular hourly rate. Since Aug. 1, 2011, the chief has been under a different compensation plan. Chief Hunt was paid $23,809 net, after deductions, the city reported.

In the document signed by both him and Hunt, Mayor Christopherson noted: “I have reviewed the last five years of timesheets and have found that your request of 787 hours of comp time to be reasonable.”

The city has been trying to get a handle on the chief’s complicated accumulation of extra time and with the vote last week, finally did.

Hunt has been a police officer for Grand Coulee since he started as a reserve officer in 1975. He started full time in 1976, and was named chief on July 1, 1979.

Hunt’s current 2013 hourly rate is $47.07, but the comp time will be paid at his 2012 hourly rate.

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