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Morgantown police union wants transparency with possible personnel changes

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The union representing Morgantown police officers wants city officials to release information regarding changes to personnel rules.

Leaders have been working on changes to the program over the last year, in which the new rules would take effect on July 1. Such decision would mark the first change in three decades.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 87 President Brandon Viola told MetroNews affiliate WAJR-AM members began raising questions after the city failed to release a wage and compensation study. Language in the city’s budget claims the study is completed, but city officials told WAJR-AM it is “not yet final.”

“They’ve been discussed by the city administration behind closed doors over the past several months,” Viola said. “They’ve released things to employees saying there are going to be changes, but not what they are.”

Viola contended the new rules would include a “unified paid time off system,” in which officers would not have days designated for specific purposes such as illness and vacation.

Viola also shared concerns that many officers would leave their positions because of the city’s poor communication or changes to wages and benefits. The Morgantown Police Department is capable of having 76 officers, but the agency currently has 59 officers on staff.

“When you make changes to personnel issues like time off and salaries, things of that nature, it’s going to affect the amount of hiring you’re going to have and the number of officers you retain,” he said. “You’re going to continue to see the number of police officers protecting the city dwindling.”

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