[Masthead] Mostly Cloudy ~ 71°F  
High: 91°F ~ Low: 69°F
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

City employee manual under review

Sunday, October 7, 2012

City council members are reviewing proposed upcoming changes to Shelbyville's human resource manual that will impact municipal employees.

A first draft of the new rules and regulations were distributed to council members earlier this year for review, and each week since then, city manager Jay Johnson and city recorder Vickie Haskins have gone over the manual "line by line" with department heads

The result is a second draft that Johnson termed as "real close" to being the final version. He asked members to take the 130-page document home to study, but not before going over some of the major changes.

It will take an ordinance from the council to adopt the manual to get it in the pipeline, with Johnson saying the ideal time to adopt it would be in December so it would be ready to take effect by the first of 2013.

What is 'family'?

Changes have been made to the definition of "immediate family" has been made, with Johnson saying that in today's society, that "can get pretty complicated."

The definition now includes the present spouse, parents, step-parents, grandparents, current parents-in-law, current grandparents-in-law, foster parents, children, step-children, brother, sister, brother-in-law and sister-in-law of the employees, grandchildren, legally adopted children, children taken from a home to raise under a properly executed court order and blood relatives of the employee that are living in the home and dependant on the employee.

Proof of those relationships may be required and extended family in regards to the city's bereavement act would be considered aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

Johnson said this would also have ramifications when dealing with sick leave, telling council members the definition could be as broad or narrow as they like.

Comp time issue

Another major change has to do with compensatory, or "comp time." Johnson said that five to six years ago, the then-city manager stopped comp time for "a very valid reason" -- a change in accounting standards which required comp time to be shown as a liability to the city.

Under the change, comp time off at time and one-half may be granted in lieu of overtime pay in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The change will be for a trial period during 2013, and would be evaluated in December of next year. Johnson said the change could save the city some money.

An employee could accumulate a maximum of 40 hours comp time, and have to take it within 30 days of the pay period when it was earned. Fire and police would be calculated on the same basis and pay period. If the comp time is not used within the 30-day period, the overtime would be paid.

Johnson said there are currently about a dozen employees that have around 250 hours of unused comp time. He is proposing a move to get that wiped out over the next several years.

All comp time earned and taken would have to be approved by the department director.

Also, the maximum accrual for vacation time would be 480 hours, where it is currently at 500 hours. Johnson said some employees have more than 500 hours accumulated, and that issue would be addressed over the next couple of years.

Other changes

*The city's dress code has also been altered, with Johnson explaining there had been a lot of discussion concerning clothing, footwear and tattoos, saying that they want them appropriate for the workplace.

*The section of the manual dealing with garnishments have been tightened up, stating that any employee with five or more garnishments in any 12-month period may be subject to termination. Child support or spousal support orders, federal or state tax levies and Chapter 13 bankruptcies are not considered garnishments.

*Changes dealing with cell phones attempt to make it clear that city business conducted on the devices is a matter of public record.

*Three work days of bereavement pay will be provided to city employees, and Johnson said this topic created considerable discussion. Extended family bereavement leave would be charged as vacation leave.

*Regular employees on worker's comp leave would receive 66.7 percent of the regular pay from the Worker's Compensation carrier and they may choose to use their accumulated sick and vacation time to pay the wage gap.

*Also, no changes were made to the city's proposed policy on e-mail, Internet and social media usage.