The issue of annual Christmas bonuses for Orchard City's town workers is normally discussed in closed-door executive session, Mayor Don Suppes told the DCI.
But not this year.
Suppes doesn't like conducting the people's business in private. "I just don't like executive sessions," he said.
So this year the trustees had the chance to state their views on town employee Christmas bonuses at their regular public meeting held on Dec. 14.
It was decided that the Christmas of 2011 will be the last one where employees of the Town of Orchard City get a Christmas bonus.
Also under a policy recommended to the town board by the trustee personnel committee, besides this being the last year for employee Christmas bonuses, the town clerk and public works supervisor won't get a Christmas bonus at all. They will be entrusted with funds to distribute $100 bonuses to the other town employees this year.
While it may sound like the Grinch has arrived in Orchard City, that's not actually the case, trustee Gale Doudy, a personnel committee member, explained to his town board colleagues on Dec. 14. He said the Christmas bonus policy was begun in days when town workers made little money. The annual Christmas bonus was a way to help workers buy presents for their kids, he explained.
Town workers are better paid these days, Mayor Don Suppes said. Except for new hires, in 2011 town employees received "substantial raises," he added. He explained later that he was referring to two employees who attained pay grade promotions and two others who took on additional responsibilities.
But trustee Jimmie Boyd thought the bonuses ban should be reconsidered. "I don't see that we need to do that at this time," he said. He explained his view that the bonus is not based on job performance but on the "feeling of the Christmas Season."
He offered the suggestion that the trustees might want to consider "adjusting" the policy from year to year.
The board decided to let the town clerk and public works supervisor distribute Christmas bonus money to those under their supervision. But Melissa Oelke and Mike Morgan did not themselves qualify for the gift. They had each received $1,000-per-month raises this year in lieu of the town hiring an administrator. That brought the two top salary earners on the town staff to approximately $63,000 per year each, another issue the trustees discussed in open session.
The mayor's aversion to closed-door meetings led to last year's out-in-the-open contract negotiations with several dozen private domestic water pipeline companies. The policy led to some direct and pointed conversation at trustee meetings and work sessions. But more importantly, it gave all of the companies the opportunity to see what kind of issues other companies were having to deal with on the new contracts.blog comments powered by Disqus