On Wednesday, December. 16,2015, City Manager, Clarence Goodlein met with the Mayor, City Council members, and included the newly elected candidates: Mr. Smiley and Mr. Gottschell. Mr. Goodlein stated that the desire of the meeting, “The discussion was for the purpose of the first study session to discuss the infrastructure needs of the City and City assets.”
There is considerable interest on what Mr. Goodlein will consider as priorities for the Budget Sessions and for his Administration’s goals and objectives.
It is a positive that the City Manager, Goodlein has called the joint and inclusive meeting of all the elected officials in transitioning the Council’s legislative body. Notably…there is much to discuss. Among the subjects that should be discussed are following the City’s Charter requirements, destruction of personnel files and missing department materials, and a more congenial attitude among the members of council. There too is the pending Budget that will have to be developed and will take several study sessions as tax rates will be of considerable importance.
A consideration should be the present Administrative Policy statements for Sick-leave and Vacation that is obsolete and adds expense to the legacy costs of taxpayers. It is essential to review this benefit policy.
Attached is the City of Wixom’s “Policy on Vacation and Sick-Leave benefits. This is a discretionary policy. There are very few, if any, Corporations that are in the financial position to pay for such benefits. The community is in jeopardy of paying for long-term Legacy costs for retirement and increasing medical benefit expenses. The present discretionary spending policy is not essential to the general benefits received by City Employees.
There is no reason that this outdated policy should be extended beyond the 2016 Budget Year. It is recognized that this policy has a long range implications to the employees retirement; however, this benefit, as policy, is bad policy and should have never been introduced or recognized as a supplemental saving account.
The use and availability of sick-leave and vacation benefits are attributes of employment essential to the employees well-being. However, benefits are essential, but the policy must be standardized to a limited an applicable annual benefit basis.
The present City Policy requires reconfiguration and revised to an annual basis. The expression, “Use it or loose it,” is a standard operations procedure, and the present policy must be recognized for what it is: a legacy cost and an unacceptable and unrealistic City Policy.
A reconsideration and modification to this benefit is an obligation of Management’s to change based upon sound and standard operational procedures. Furthermore, once revised, the benefits of sick-leave and vacation-leaves are realistic and continues the employees ability to use both sick-leave and vacation attributes as it should be.
Promises that are made to employees at their date of hire by employers are important, but Corporate Policies that are stated as “discretionary policy” creating expensive legacy payouts of thousands-of-dollars are expenses that taxpayers cannot afford to pay. Unrealistic, non-standard, non-competitive operational City Policies cannot be tolerated in these economic times, or at any time for that matter.
Discretionary benefits noted were once acceptable in good economic times. Now these policy directives are no longer warranted, are not competitive or corporate compliant; they are excessive legacy costs.
Sick-leave and Vacation Benefits must be on the Council’s and City Manager’s docket and reviewed as a component of the 2016-17 Annual Budget. The City’s Policy of payment for these benefits requires reconstruction to an annual, term-limit requirement.