TUCSON - A battle is brewing over back pay for a Tucson Police lieutenant who was demoted to sergeant in 2012. She was then reinstated last year.
Diana Lopez lost her rank after an internal investigation revealed she shared sexually explicit images of herself with another officer she had a relationship with at that time.
It's a rank she fought to get back after she was demoted to sergeant.
She may have to go to court again.
It was a judge who ordered Diana Lopez to be reinstated and to be given back pay. Now it may be a judge who has to decide if she is entitled to receive nearly $12,000 in back pay from the city.
“ I earned that money while I was working and performing the duties of a sergeant,” she said.
Lt. Diana Lopez is fighting crime on the streets. Now, she's having to fight city hall.
“They (the city) went back and deducted all of the holiday pay, all of the shift differential which I received working the night shift, and all of the overtime,” she said.
All of which Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said she is entitled too, according to a memo dated November 21st 2014,
Chief Villasenor stated Lt. Lopez is "due additional compensation reimbursement in accordance with the decision by the Superior Court that she be reinstated with back pay."
Lopez is has earned the following in back pay.
Holiday pay $4,779.30
Shift differential $2,403.83
For a total of $11,722.57
“I earned this money in 2012-2013 and I claimed part of it on my federal taxes in 2013 because it was part of my income,” said Lopez.
However, the city appears to be using different math.
In a memo dated last month to Chief Villasenor, it said “after the chief's request was reviewed by Human Resources, Finance and the City Manager's office in consultation with the City Attorney's office, we are all in agreement that no additional compensation is owed. Request is denied."
News 4 Tucson contacted city officials for an explanation, but they declined comment and referred to the memo.
Even Michael Storie who is representing Lopez said, “I've tried to contact the very highest levels over at the City Attorney's office and I've gotten zero response from them.”
“Pretty simple, if we owe her the money she should be paid,” City Councilman Steve Kozachik said.
Her attorney said they may be forced to go to court, which could end up costing taxpayers more money.
“It's going to be very expensive for the city and a very dire mistake,” said Storie.