Council to explore payout system for overtime, vacation

Existing rules allow employees to collect payments all at once

Ever-increasing payouts to retirees and other employees for vacation time and overtime hours will be the subject of a City Council meeting at 6 p.m.Thursday. Corrected time

During a study session, the council will delve into the subject of accrued vacation time and overtime hours that have cost the city $920,000 this year.

Councilors said at a recent meeting that the annual payout is not sustainable and hoped to find a solution. They said building up hours, then being reimbursed for those hours, is generally not done in the private sector.

Doug Detling, director of the city's Human Resources Department, said the manner in which employees accrue vacation and overtime is relatively complicated.

"We're basically giving them (the council) an informational update about how it works," said Detling. "They may give us some direction as to how they want us to proceed."

When an employee retires, quits or is terminated, the city is required to pay for any accrued vacation days. Employees who work overtime have the option to be paid or to bank the hours if they want to take leave at a later date. Employees can accrue a maximum of 400 hours.

The Fire Department received the largest share at $400,000, fueled by recent retirements. The second-largest share will be $330,000 to the Police Department.

Many of the payouts are the result of contractual agreements between unions and the city.

Similar payouts are made to administrative and management staff who are not subject to union contracts.

Councilors earlier this month balked at the $920,000 bill, but ultimately agreed to pay it.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.


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