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Bath personnel policy updated and approved

September 20, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- A new personnel policy for Town of Bath employees was unanimously approved by the Bath Town Council last week.

Council committee members Irene Hedrick, Jim Slough and Scott Merki drafted a new personnel policy and presented copies to the council at a special meeting on Wednesday.

Hedrick said the committee updated the policy and removed items that no longer applied, but major changes were made to vacation, sick leave and compensation provisions.

The major change to the personnel policy is that compensation time will no longer be available to town and water department employees, Hedrick said.

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"The crux is the comp-time issue," said Mayor Susan J. Webster.

"We are removing comp time due to the inability to manage it," Slough said.

He said the problem with comp time is that the payroll is outsourced, and "the private sector does not have a way to track comp time," he said.

Chief Water Operator Terry Largent and Bath Clerk Margie Allgyer, who are salaried employees, had been accruing comp time under the old policy.

Allgyer said when she and Largent were hired, they were told salaried employees could accrue comp time and that they "work when we have to work."

Webster said salaried people "work until it is done," she said.

Allgyer said she felt they were being punished for being dedicated.

"Salaried people don't get overtime or comp," Councilman Kenny Easton said.

Largent said when he works all night to fix water leaks, he should be compensated for his hours.

"I don't get to take time off like everyone else," Largent said.

Easton said the way to compensate Largent is to allow his crew members to handle the next day's schedule, and that Largent should take time offthe next day after a long night.

Webster said Largent could call and leave her a message that he would not be in the office because of late-night work.

Sick leave will be accrued at eight hours per month or four hours per pay period, Hedrick said, as opposed to the four-plus-a-fraction hours per pay period in the past.

Additionally, Merki said accrued sick leave is now capped at 400 hours, but it will be grandfathered in for employees who have accrued more under the old policy.

Slough said Thursday that unused sick leave will no longer be part of the retirement package.

The new policy dictates that vacation has to be taken within a calendar year. If a problem occurs, the vacation time can be rolled forward only one quarter, Slough said.

Unused vacation time will no longer be added to retirement, Slough said.

"It was never intended that vacation was to be added to the retirement package," he said.

Easton said the new policy will not allow partial days of vacation time.

"The minimum is one day," he said.

But after discussion, the council members agreed that half days would be considered, and that it will be decided at supervisors' discretion, Merki said.

"Vacation time needs to be planned in advance," Webster said.

Largent suggested that another policy change be added that a sick leave day cannot be taken before or after vacation, unless a doctor's note is supplied to the supervisor, and the council added that suggestion.

Two additional holidays were added to the new policy, making the number 11, Merki said.

"We're here for the benefit of the people of the Town of Bath," Webster said.

Merki suggested the new personnel policy be given to department heads Largent, Allgyer and Police Chief Craig Pearrell to discuss the changes with their employees.

Hedrick suggested that the council regularly examine the policy and update it when necessary.

Allgyer said Thursday that 21 people work for the Town of Bath, its police department and the town-owned water department.

The Town of Bath is a municipality inside Berkeley Springs.

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