Winchester Councilman doesn’t agree to change in personnel policy
For the most part, the Winchester City Council members get along on most topics, but during its December meeting, not all five saw eye to eye on a recent modification to the personnel policy — namely adding four holiday days.
Prior to the council’s vote, City administrator Beth Rhoton noted that most of the changes were merely updates.
“The original was draft in 1993,” she said. “In 2009, our auditors recommended we completely rework it.”
Though in agreement with a majority of the policy, Willie Womack voiced his disappointment regarding the change to include more holidays off for city employees. Instead of the eight paid holidays that have been in place for employees for years, the new policy states city employees will now get 12 days off.
Womack stated he thought it’d end up costing the city more in overtime, using safety personnel as an example.
“And city employees already get anywhere from two to four weeks paid vacation and one day per month sick leave,” he said.
The councilman asked Rhoton how much it’d cost the city to give the extra four days off for holidays.
Rhoton said it costs $1,300 to pay the public service employees per shift. But she also later added that it’s $3,342 to pay all public service employees for a holiday.
“Some elect to have time off instead but that is the correct number if they all received eight hours holiday pay,” she said.
Rhoton further explained that the state government gives its employees 14 days off for holidays, the county gives 13 days and Winchester Utilities gives 12 days.
“I just feel like we should be treated like other government entities,” she said.
Councilman Jack Bell commented he didn’t have a problem with giving city employees a few more vacation days.
“It does cost the city a little money, but I think city employees should be entitled to (these days off),” Bell said.
Gene Snead asked Rhoton if the increase in holidays would in any way mean a tax increase for the city, and Rhoton answered “no” it would not.
In a roll call vote, Bell, Snead, Wayne Hart and Bruce Spencer all voted “yes” to pass the revised personnel policy. Womack gave the council’s only “no” vote.