SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES
COUNCIL CHAMBERS – CITY HALL
1000 CITY CENTER CIRCLE
MAY 14, 2013
THE SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING of the City of Port Orange was called to order by Mayor Allen Green at 5:30 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Roll Call: Present: Councilman Bob Ford
Councilman Drew Bastian
Councilman Dennis Kennedy
Vice Mayor Donald Burnette
Mayor Allen Green
Also Present: Gregory A. Kisela, City Manager
Margaret T. Roberts, City Attorney
Robin Fenwick, City Clerk
4. Sick and Vacation Leave Payouts
Rob Zicker, Human Resources Director, provided a summary of the sick and vacation leave policy. Each group of employees has had leave benefits bifurcated with separate provisions for new hires that reduced accrual rates, accrual carry over and accrual payouts. Mr. Zicker provided details of the vacation leave benefits.
Mayor Green asked what the pay rate is at the payout. Mr. Kisela said the payout is at the current pay rate for the employee, not at the rate it was earned.
Mr. Zicker provided details of the sick leave benefits. He also provided details of the floating & birthday holidays for each employment group.
Statistics were provided for payouts for the past five years. Mr. Kisela discussed hours of work.
Costs were provided for payouts upon separation for the past five years by Mr. Kisela. Mr. Kisela asked Council to consider employee equity. Two-thirds of the City’s employees are covered under a CBA, while 25-30% are not covered. He asked Council to also consider the impact changes will have on overtime, recruitment, and retention of employees.
Mayor Green is in favor of paying upfront and not carrying over hours.
Councilman Kennedy believes the benefits are lucrative. He agreed retention and recruitment are issues to think about when considering any changes. He understands the private sector may have fewer benefits, but historically that’s been the case.
Councilman Ford believes the distribution of leave is unfair and doesn’t make much sense. He believes it should be cleaned up. He believes paying out for unused sick leave is a good idea but vacation leave buy back is not. He wants employees to use their vacation leave. He believes being competitive needs to happen through regular salary surveys and make sure employees are in the top couple of governments in salaries and class not through sick and vacation leave. He wants equity across all employees. Employees should be encouraged to take vacation time. He suggested capping payouts at a certain figure.
Councilman Bastian is not in favor of changing the rules in the middle of the game and he’s not in favor of further reductions. Employees typically will accept less pay for better benefits. He doesn’t believe it is equitable. He is not in favor of taking benefits away. He doesn’t agree with requiring employees to take a full shift of leave rather than allowing them to take a few hours to handle their personal business.
Vice Mayor Burnette agreed with Councilman Bastian that Council needs to be equitable with employees, as well as citizens. He’s in favor of use or lose vacation leave policies. He wants to find equity between employees and taxpayers. Benefits need to be job specific.
Mayor Green wants to pay for the benefit when he gets the work. He doesn’t want to transfer that obligation to 20 years down the road. Some accruals are okay.
Mike Scedero addressed Council regarding leave as a representative of the PEA, PBA, and PBA, Lts. He suggested Council consider the overtime implications of lowering leave carryover amounts. The benefits provided by the City of Port Orange are common.
Corey Berman doesn’t believe employees should be treated differently. He suggested higher pay rates.
Chris Barnes, Building Maintenance, is concerned with aging employees who need time off for doctor’s appointments. He believes leave needs to be available and accumulated especially for older employees. He thinks the City should be investing the time so the City can make money off of it. Mayor Green wants the employee to do that investing.
Ted Noftall asked if there are any projections for the cost of the program without changes. Mr. Kisela advised that it will be in the $400,000-$500,000 range for sick and vacation leave buy back. Mr. Noftall doesn’t believe management should be included in the same benefit programs. He believes the City needs to be more in line with the private sector. He doesn’t believe the intention of sick and vacation leave accruals was to receive large payouts upon separation.
Newton White described the benefits and differences between his employment and the City. He suggested moving the buyback of sick leave to a 1 to 2 ratio.
Mayor Green wants to find a win-win way to accomplish balance for the City and employees. City employees have an umbrella of protection.
Councilman Kennedy also wants to find an equitable solution for all.
Councilman Bastian wants to protect the employees. He believes taking more away from them will send the message that they are not valued.
Vice Mayor Burnette wants it equitable. He has a problem with treating employees who are fired or leave under pressure as good as someone retiring under good terms.
Councilman Ford wants the leave policy revised so there are no problems with leave being given that was not earned. Mr. Kisela advised that the administrative leave policy is clear and was not followed. Councilman Ford doesn’t believe in educational leave unless it is for specific purposes for the good of the City. It should be available to all employees or none. He wants part-time employees reviewed. He is not in favor of contract employees. He doesn’t agree with employees selling back their vacation leave. He wants employees to use their vacation leave. Payouts should be capped.
Mr. Noftall thanked Vice Mayor Burnette for expressing the distain with the Settlement Agreements entered into recently. He asked what the limits of the City Manager’s authority are for entering into Settlement Agreements. He asked Council to make changes and break the link with management receiving the same benefits as the employees who are negotiating their benefits.
Mark Schaeffer believes the benefit package should be compared to private sector jobs.
Fred Griffith is a 26 year employee. He knows he gets paid well and cautions Council on making too many changes. Employees want to be treated fairly.
Mayor Green asked Mr. Kisela if he has enough information to provide options. Mr. Kisela said he has direction for starting the discussion. The changes are not going to happen overnight. He agreed the plans are not equitable.
Councilman Kennedy asked for information on private sector benefit packages. Mr. Kisela said Staff will do that research.
5. Flex Time
There was no discussion held regarding flex time schedules.
ADJOURNMENT: 6:51 p.m.
Mayor Allen Green
Robin L. Fenwick, City Clerk