Montevallo to review employee vacation time accrual policy

Published 3:18 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2022

By EMILY SPARACINO | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – The Montevallo City Council took action on business items related to the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funds, employee vacation time, park facilities and Public Works Department equipment on Monday, Feb. 14.

The council voted in favor of removing the expiration date of Dec. 31, 2022 from acquired vacation time for all city employees pending further action of the administration and council.

“We’re not quite ready to move on this by the end of the year,” Mayor Rusty Nix said. “We’ve still got a good many employees that we would like them to slowly work their time down, but this is something that’s just been passed on and passed on, and we’re trying to get everything corrected within the next few years where we won’t have somebody when they retire that we owe them $40,000 or $50,000.”

Nix said the city is looking at how to best handle accrued vacation time for its employees, especially long-term employees who have a large number of unused vacation days.

“I’ve been meeting with department heads regarding this issue and getting a little better input from each one of them,” City Clerk and Treasurer Steve Gilbert said. “Vacation time is something that an employee earns and is part of their compensation. This is not unusual, but what we’re looking at is a way to either establish a budget line item or a departmental line item that will allow us to budget better for these expenses and build some funding into those budget areas. I think we can establish perhaps a ceiling where even senior employees know that if they go above this ceiling, then those hours will either go away at the end of the year, or they just lose them.”

Councilmember David King said the council’s decision to remove the Dec. 31 deadline does not change the way the city currently operates regarding employee vacation time.

“From my understanding of it, all we’re doing is removing a hard deadline that would force some of our employees that may have enough time to retire into a position where they would almost feel like if they didn’t do that, they would be losing something, and we don’t want to put our city or those employees in a position to make that choice,” King said. “It is something that needs to be solved.”

Public Works Director Kirk Hamby and Police Chief Jeremy Littleton said they do not think employees should feel punished for having accrued vacation time because they are dedicated to their jobs.

“It’s putting the police department in a major bind, trying to get these senior employees down within that time,” Littleton said. “I understand it’s something that’s got to be looked at, but I am asking the council and the mayor for their support to give us a little more time to get this situation worked out.”

In other business, the council:

• Approved a resolution to appropriate funds from the city’s ARPA account for COVID-19 economic relief funding for Shelby Emergency Assistance, Montevallo Arts Council, American Village, Clas-Tran, Montevallo Art Walk, Shelby County Arts Council and the Neighborhood Bridges Program for a total of $12,000.

• Accepted a $5,238 bid from C&C Electrical for the installation of timers and magnetic door locks on the restroom doors at Orr, Shoal Creek and Dailey parks.

• Approved funds from the city’s sanitation account up to $10,500 for the purchase and installation of a new engine in the 2002 Ford F-450 bucket truck.

• Approved for a bench bearing the late Dr. Earl Cunningham’s name to be placed in Dailey Park in the future.