FLSA may well have overridden 5 U.S.C. § 5541. If it was overridden, then there is no overtime statute in force that would cause most District employees to be paid on a non-salary basis. Nonetheless, even if section 5541 is still in force, by dint of D.C. Code § 1-612.4(e) or some other means, police and fire personnel are still a special case.
The separate law covering District of Columbia police and fire personnel, all the way up to the chief of the police department, is tailored to a select group of employees. It recognizes that "police and fire department jobs are unique." See Memorandum Opinion at 8. In fact, 5 U.S.C. § 5541 reinforces that view. Section 5541 defines all District of Columbia employees as eligible for premium pay under the terms of 5 U.S.C. § 5542 but then gives a list of exceptions. Members of the Metropolitan Police, the Fire Department, the Park Police and the Executive Protective Service are explicitly exempted. See 5 U.S.C. § 5541(2)(iv).
This Court's opinion will in no way open a "floodgate" of employees claiming they are entitled to overtime because the District has not enacted special compensation statutes for all employees.
If the District of Columbia remains unhappy about the status of its high-ranking police officers under the FLSA, it can amend the statute that now treats them as hourly employees and pays them specifically on an hourly basis for their overtime hours. Until the statute is changed, their positions will not meet the salary basis test.
C. Freedom of the Court to Choose its Reasons
Lastly, defendants argue that they are entitled to reconsideration because the Court based its decision on a legal argument that neither party presented in its written briefs. Specifically, defendant argues, "As the grounds for this request, defendant respectfully submits that the crux of this Court's decision . . . was not fully addressed by the parties, but arrived at sua sponte by this Court." Defendant's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment, 1. Such a contention is not a viable ground for reconsideration.
To say now that the Court was not free to rest its decision on certain reasoning because that reasoning did not appear in the parties' briefs is to treat the Court like a puppet that can only move when the parties pull the strings. The Court is always free to base its judgments on whatever legal arguments it finds applicable and persuasive. Although the parties may not have presented complete arguments in their briefs or at hearings in court, they did not fail to do so because they lacked the opportunity. At the initial hearing on summary judgment held on December 11 and 12, 1991, the Court specifically asked the parties how the FLSA was to be interpreted in light of Public Law 89-282, 79 Stat. 1013 (1965), now codified as D.C. Code § 4-1104. After hearing the parties, the Court took the matter under advisement and rendered its judgment on February 25, 1992. It is required to do no more. Clearly the Court is under no duty to continuously vet its own cognitive processes to the parties every time it comes up with a thought that has not been fully briefed or discussed. While a Court may at times seek additional briefing from the parties, it is not required to do so. There comes a time when litigation must finally be put to rest. The decision in this case is based on the relevant statutes and regulations to the best this Court has been able to determine. That judgment will stand.
United States District Court
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following court-provided text does not appear at this cite in 788 F. Supp. 597.
ORDER - April 2, 1992, Filed
Based on the reasons given in the memorandum opinion filed today, it is this 1 day of April, 1992 hereby
ORDERED that defendant's motion to alter or amend the judgment is denied.
United States District Court