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HIGH SPRINGS – After discussing potential changes to the City’s personnel procedure manual, including capping vacation time, the High Springs Commission delayed taking action until the City’s Finance Services Director was able to attend a budget meeting.

“I want to address some serious issues in here that I think we have to address,” Vice Mayor Bob Barnas said.

During the Aug. 9 commission meeting, discussion centered on compensatory time, flex time, vacation time and merit pay.  The discussion follows a recent communication to the City of High Springs by the United States Department of Labor to pay the city’s former planner for unpaid compensatory and flex time.

Following the Department of Labor’s warning of a full-scale investigation, Barnas said City staff has improved their efforts within the last week to keep up with compensatory time.

Currently, employees earn vacation time based on years of service to the City. Employees with more than 20 years with High Springs earn 200 hours per year, while hours earned by employees with fewer than 20 years is calculated based on the years. Most employees are not allowed to accrue in excess of 240 hours, but department directors may accrue up to 320 hours.

Barnas suggested capping vacation time at 240 hours for department heads and 200 hours for all other employees.

Commissioner Sue Weller cautioned Barnas about the process of cutting vacation time, stating employees may feel like they’ve earned the right to the time they have already accumulated.

“I feel department heads should have better benefits,” Weller said, referring to the higher cap on hours. “Right now, that’s all they have that’s more than the employees they supervise.”

Fire Chief Bruce Gillingham suggested the City not cap the total hours, but limit the amount of carry-over hours to 40 a year. He also added that the carry-over deadline should be set for anniversary year instead of fiscal year so that City employees are staggered instead of fighting for vacation at the same time.

If the City decides to cut vacation time, the Commission would allow employees a year to use any time accumulated over the new set amount.

“Every city across the country is saying we can’t afford these things,” Barnas said. “If you ask me to vote on this now, I’m cutting everything.”

“I want to come up with something that truly gives someone a merit raise,” Barnas said.

City Manager Jeri Langman said before the City can hand out merit bonuses, there needs to be a uniform description of each job. She said staff is currently working on putting these together.

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Email awilliamson@alachuatoday.com

HIGH SPRINGS – After discussing potential changes to the City’s personnel procedure manual, including capping vacation time, the High Springs Commission delayed taking action until the City’s Finance Services Director was able to attend a budget meeting.

“I want to address some serious issues in here that I think we have to address,” Vice Mayor Bob Barnas said.

During the Aug. 9 commission meeting, discussion centered on compensatory time, flex time, vacation time and merit pay.  The discussion follows a recent communication to the City of High Springs by the United States Department of Labor to pay the city’s former planner for unpaid compensatory and flex time.

Following the Department of Labor’s warning of a full-scale investigation, Barnas said City staff has improved their efforts within the last week to keep up with compensatory time.

Currently, employees earn vacation time based on years of service to the City. Employees with more than 20 years with High Springs earn 200 hours per year, while hours earned by employees with fewer than 20 years is calculated based on the years. Most employees are not allowed to accrue in excess of 240 hours, but department directors may accrue up to 320 hours.

Barnas suggested capping vacation time at 240 hours for department heads and 200 hours for all other employees.

Commissioner Sue Weller cautioned Barnas about the process of cutting vacation time, stating employees may feel like they’ve earned the right to the time they have already accumulated.

“I feel department heads should have better benefits,” Weller said, referring to the higher cap on hours. “Right now, that’s all they have that’s more than the employees they supervise.”

Fire Chief Bruce Gillingham suggested the City not cap the total hours, but limit the amount of carry-over hours to 40 a year. He also added that the carry-over deadline should be set for anniversary year instead of fiscal year so that City employees are staggered instead of fighting for vacation at the same time.

If the City decides to cut vacation time, the Commission would allow employees a year to use any time accumulated over the new set amount.

“Every city across the country is saying we can’t afford these things,” Barnas said. “If you ask me to vote on this now, I’m cutting everything.”

“I want to come up with something that truly gives someone a merit raise,” Barnas said.

City Manager Jeri Langman said before the City can hand out merit bonuses, there needs to be a uniform description of each job. She said staff is currently working on putting these together.

#     #     #

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