Gloversville council to eye draft worker policy

Council members are drafting the final version of a resolution they hope will replace the city’s con

Council members are drafting the final version of a resolution they hope will replace the city’s controversial personnel policy for non-union employees, which was recently scrutinized in an audit by the state Comptroller’s Office.

Resolution 11-11 would make Resolution 11-98, approved by the Common Council in January 1998, null and void and would supersede all prior resolutions regarding salary and fringe benefits for city employees not represented by unions.

“People will know what’s expected of them when they come to work for the city of Gloversville,” said Councilwoman Ellen Anadio, who began drafting the resolution months prior to the July release of an audit by the state Comptroller’s Office.

The audit, which examined the city’s financial operations over a two-year period, found that officials and employees were paid $28,270 for leave time even though there was no contract or resolution indicating they should be paid for unused leave.

The new policy prohibits such buyouts, Anadio said.

The Comptroller’s Office had recommended city officials establish control procedures ensuring that any buyouts that occur be given in accordance with collective bargaining agreements or city council enactments.

Anadio circulated the revised policy among fellow council members before sending it to city labor attorney Bryan Goldberger for review. Once he makes final suggestions, the council will vote on the resolution.

“I think it kind of redefines some things,” said Commissioner of Finance Bruce Van Genderen. “It takes out buyouts, which we were trying to do. And also it defines some things, as far as contribution for health insurance for non-represented folks. It better defines personal day and vacation policies.”

The state Comptroller’s Office also recommended the city better oversee earned time records, ensuring that employees are given accurate leave accrual payments, after it found that former prominent city officials were improperly paid. These included former Mayor Tim Hughes, former City Attorney John Clo and a former police chief.

Mayor Dayton King did not return calls Friday. King signed directives to city department heads a few months ago, stating that he and Van Genderen need to sign off on all payments to non-represented employees that aren’t regular weekly paychecks.

“Everybody needs a contract,” Anadio said. “People who have come on have been using mayoral directives. But we need it to be the same, not so it’s ‘Here’s this and here’s that.’ You have to be on the same page with everybody. So this tightens it up, no question.”

According to a working draft of Resolution 11-11, vacation leave with pay would be granted in increments depending on an employee’s longevity with the city. Vacation time could be taken only in the year it is credited and carried over only with the permission of the mayor and council.

Paid sick leave days, however, could be carried over from year to year. But if an employee leaves city service, they would be entitled to pay for no more than 60 unused days.

Any earned personal leave time would have to be used before the next year, and upon leaving city service an employee could be compensated for no more than two days of personal leave.

Anadio is currently finalizing a new 45-page employee handbook that will be posted on the city’s website upon completion. Language from Resolution 11-11, if approved, will be incorporated into the handbook, she said.

“It’s a little slower than what I wanted,” Anadio said. “We’re still kind of collecting information to make it exactly what it should be, instead of so open-ended like [Resolution 11-98] was.”

Resolution 11-11 includes a stipulation for non-represented employees hired before the policy goes into place, ensuring them no reduction in employment terms or conditions if they have already signed a contract.

Any employees hired after the policy goes into place could have their terms and conditions modified by the mayor or council, something Van Genderen said he hoped would be included.

“I think if both the mayor and the council find someone that they feel is really going to be a value to the city, and I’m not sure what position we’re talking about here, but who really is looked upon as someone that the city needs, there should be some flexibility for them to modify this,” he said.

The council meets Tuesday at 6 p.m. Anadio said she won’t be in attendance until the Aug. 30 meeting, the soonest members could vote on Resolution 11-11.

“We just have to be more careful when we look at stuff,” Anadio said. “I think that’s what the comptroller was saying. And the new resolution and new handbook are a step in the right direction.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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