SCHENECTADY — Legislation to standardize the city’s sick time policy for its managerial workforce has taken a large step toward approval.
Under the proposed change approved by the City Council's Administrative Efficiency Committee on Monday, all managerial employees would receive a 25-percent cash payout of their unused sick time upon retirement if they accumulate at least 960 hours.
The current policy for managers contains no payout, but outgoing employees managers can use 25 percent of their accumulated sick time to offset health insurance premiums upon retirement.
The shift comes after lawmakers hotly debated a request by the city police chief to cash unused sick time he accrued prior to his promotion. Non-managerial police personnel receive cash payouts under their contract.
City Council President Ed Kosiur asked the city’s Corporation Counsel's Office to study current policy for all management.
“We quickly saw it as an issue that affects all city management employees,” Kosiur said. “This is really what we wanted to look at.”
By the time Chief Eric Clifford was promoted to lead the Police Department in 2016, he had accumulated 758 hours of unused sick time over 14 years. But his payout was eliminated because he was shuttled to a management position.
After several weeks of discussion, the motion was tabled in August.
“That’s not an issue being considered anymore,” said city Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico.
The chief will be among those who qualify for the new policy, he said.
Clifford declined comment on Monday, citing his lack of familiarity with the proposed legislation.
The city adopted the existing policy in 2009 after fulfilling sizable payouts to outgoing employees.
Falotico estimates at least 80 management employees will be affected by the proposed new policy. For managers hired on or before April 13, 2009, accumulated sick leave gets discounted to 75 percent upon payout when leaving city service.
Falotico believes a new policy would encourage managers to bank the hours as opposed to using them up.
“They’re only getting 25 percent of the value, but the city has got them to come to work all the time instead of using it, which is what we’re seeing now,” Falotico said.
The true impact of the policy, he said, will not be felt until managers hired after 2009 begin to retire, which is still years away.
The proposed change is applicable only to management — not collective bargaining units.
“Any union employee is not affected by this,” Falotico said. “This doesn’t override anything in the collective bargaining agreement.”
Numerous city unions are poised to renegotiate their contracts next year, including CSEA, Building Trades, Police and Fire departments.
The full City Council will vote next week on the measure.