Fort Wayne public safety workers to get bonuses for polar vortex work

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FORT WAYNE — Mayor Tom Henry on Feb. 8 announced that Fort Wayne Police Department officers and Fort Wayne Fire Department firefighters who worked while city offices were closed during the recent polar vortex will receive time-and- a-half compensation for their efforts.

That amounts of $49,772, according to John Perlich, city spokesman.

The public safety divisions were able to find the necessary resources in their approved 2019 budgets to fund the additional compensation, according to a city statement.

“Public safety is a top priority in the city of Fort Wayne,” Henry said in the statement. “I appreciate and respect the work that our police officers and firefighters perform each day to serve and protect all of us. During the recent polar vortex, the brave men and women of the FWPD and FWFD stepped up and didn’t back down from the life-threatening conditions that our city experienced. We’re fortunate to live in a community that values and understands the importance of public safety.”

The public safety personnel will receive the extra compensation as part of their next paycheck Feb. 22.

During the polar vortex, the city saw a new record low temperature of -13 degrees with wind chills that made it feel like -45 degrees. U.S. Postal Service deliveries and city trash and recycling pickups were suspended as several businesses allowed employees to work from home and avoid the dangerously cold temperatures.

A final total on the impact to the city is not available, Perlich said.