Monroe updates personnel policy in hopes of attracting employees

The Monroe City Council recently approved changes to the city's personnel policy manual. FILE PHOTO
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The Monroe City Council recently approved changes to the city's personnel policy manual. FILE PHOTO

Council OKs vacation buy-back, swap of holidays and more

A Monroe official said the city needed to update its personnel policy to attract new employees and align the benefits of non union and union employees.

City council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance during its meeting Tuesday night that Assistant City Manager Kacey Waggaman hopes reduces the difficulty the city is having recruiting and hiring staff.

“It’s a challenge right now,” Waggaman told this news outlet after the meeting. “Hiring is different. We had to offer similar flexibility (than the private sector).”

She said there has been a switch in how employees consider benefits. They now value time as much as money, she said.

Waggaman said the policies haven’t been updated in several years. The city was working on those changes in 2019, then they were shelved throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

She said the city’s three unions — those representing police, fire and public safety — update their benefits every three years. Monroe has 49 non union and 86 union employees and Waggaman said the city wants all staff benefits to be aligned closer.

The emergency legislation includes changes to vacation buy back, increased in accrued leave received upon separation, carry over of vacation and personal hours, calculating accrual of vacation and addition of holidays permitted to be swapped.

Starting on Jan. 1, 2022, city employees will be allowed to cash in their unused PTO or carry it over up to five days until the next year, pending approval of City Manager Bill Brock.

Employees also will be permitted to swap one of the city’s paid vacation days for a different day during the year. Waggaman said this will reduce the number of employees off on holidays the city building is open. Also, she said, some employees, especially those with limited vacation days, may prefer to swap a holiday for a Friday or Monday so they can have a three-day weekend.

She called the change “a way to give increased flexibility” without impacting the city’s budget.

Council also heard the first reading of an ordinance that would give non union employees a 3.5% cost of living raise. If approved at the next city council meeting on Dec. 14, the raise would cost $125,000 in additional payroll, according to Waggaman.

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