WOODBURY — Woodbury Ptl. Robert Garish will be able to use sick leave, holidays and comp time donated by his co-workers while waiting for the state to decide on his application for disability retirement.
In a unanimous vote, Woodbury city council Tuesday night, Dec. 2, approved an ordinance permitting city employees to contribute time to other employees.
Garish was injured when he tried to serve a warrant on a man outside the Wawa Food Market in the city on Aug. 31, 2013.
In the melee that followed, two fellow cops landed on Garish, who suffered injuries to a hip and both shoulders.
He went on worker’s compensation leave, earning full pay while he had surgery to his hip, then to a shoulder, his co-workers said.
Garish had been trying to get back to normal while on workman’s comp, but recently was subjected to a Maximum Medical Improvement exam — which determined he will never see more improvement and that he’s fit only for light duty. The Woodbury police department doesn’t offer light duty.
Garish’s workman’s comp ended Oct. 8. He filed for accidental disability retirement, but police officers said it usually takes six to eight months for the state to set up a hearing on a disability application.
The member of Policemen’s Benevolent Association, Local 122, which represents Woodbury officers, had about two and a half months of accrued time — not nearly enough to get him through until a hearing.
Some of his co-workers agreed to donate more than four months of their accumulated time to Garish.
Instead of accepting the offer, the city terminated Garish on Oct. 24 and said it would cut off his medical benefits at the end of November.
Members of Local 122 crowded the Woodbury city council chambers in October to protest the treatment of Garish and ask the city to reconsider.
Mayor William Volk and a specially appointed committee met with Garish twice and the city rescinded the termination order, kept Garish covered by his medical benefits and scheduled the ordinance that would allow city workers to donate accrued time to each other.