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Dimiro v. Township of Montclair

February 16, 1996


Vazquez, J.s.c.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Vazquez


This matter comes before the court on a motion for summary judgment by defendant Township of Montclair. Defendant requests dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint. The complaint seeks recovery of unpaid overtime compensation, pursuant to the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C.A. §§ 201.

Having carefully considered the entire record before it, the court finds that plaintiff was employed by defendant in a bona fide executive capacity and that pursuant to 29 U.S.C.A. § 213(a) she is exempt from receiving overtime compensation under the provisions of 29 U.S.C.A. § 207. Accordingly, the motion of defendant is granted.

This matter was brought before the court upon a stipulation of facts in the record. This record included plaintiff's deposition and interrogatory answers, the 1990 Montclair Municipality Management Salary Ordinance, and minutes from selected municipality council meetings. Upon review of the record agreed to by both parties, the following pertinent facts emerge.

Plaintiff, Gloria Dimiro, began working for defendant, Township of Montclair, in 1968. In 1972, plaintiff became the full time court clerk for the municipality. Plaintiff held this position until her retirement in March 1994. During the course of her employment, plaintiff's salary increased from approximately $23,000.00 per year to approximately $55,000.00 per year and her title changed from Court Clerk to Court Administrator. Neither the changes in salary nor the change in title effectively changed the inherent nature of plaintiff's employment.

It is also undisputed that plaintiff's work duties included: handling the criminal complaints, setting up the court calendar, acting as custodian of the records of the municipal court, assisting the Judge while court was in session, preparing the budget applicable to her department, and planning the work of other employees in the office. Plaintiff was also required to attend annual budget meetings with the Judge and other department heads.

During plaintiff's tenure, the staff she supervised increased from three to six workers. While plaintiff did not have the authority to hire or fire anyone in the office, she held the authority to recommend the hiring of additional employees and was present during the interview of all new hires. Plaintiff's supervisory responsibilities included apportioning and assigning work; scheduling the appropriate times for vacations and time off work; and dealing with the personal problems of the employees when they affect work environment.

Besides the recurring responsibilities described above, on one occasion, plaintiff recommended the firing of an employee she had disciplined. Based on plaintiff's recommendation, the municipal Judge eventually terminated this employee.

Plaintiff also participated in the selection of the computer system and the automation of the municipal court in the early 1980's. Prior to 1990, plaintiff's duties included the signing of arrest warrants. The legislature abridged this power by statute.

The duties and responsibilities described above, as well as the other functions of plaintiff's job, were all seemingly performed within the confines of a regular forty hour work week. However, this changed in 1977, when Montclair instituted a night court. In her deposition, plaintiff testified that the night court heard cases one night a week for about forty weeks during the year. She also testified that her increased duties relating to the night court resulted in her working more than forty hours per week. In total, plaintiff's complaint seeks about 1200 hours of unpaid overtime compensation accrued during the course of her employment with the Township's night court. To support her demand for overtime compensation, plaintiff points to the Fair Labor Standards Act (F.L.S.A.).

The portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act that provides for overtime compensation states:

Except as otherwise provided in this section, no employer shall employ any of his employees who in any workweek is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, or is employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce or the production of goods for commerce, for a workweek longer than forty hours unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours ...

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