Albany city employee resigns over bonus controversy
March 24, 2006
Albany - Some Albany employees say recent bonuses were not given out fairly. The controversy lead at least one employee and assistant city manager Kevin Hogencamp to quit. But the city manager says only the best and hardest working employees got the $1,100 bonus.
Next Friday will be Simit Patel's last day as a Albany city employee.
"I resigned after being forced to file a grievance to even be considered to receive a bonus that I clearly earned," said Patel.
Patel, a computer analyst, didn't get that bonus because he didn't score above 70% on a recent job evaluation. He got outstanding and very effective scores in most categories. But in three areas, his supervisor marked not applicable because most of those tasks pertained to people who train employees or deal with the public, which Patel's job didn't require.
"However they were counted as zeros, which counted against me in actuality."
He missed out on potential points for reasons he says are out of his control.
"No matter how hard I worked I would have received a zero for those performance factors," said Patel.
He complained to his supervisor, who went to the IT Department Director, Human Resources Director and ultimately the City Manager. But nothing happened, and Patel decided to quit.
"The city didn't want to reward everybody for hard work," said Patel.
City Manager Alfred Lott says that's not true.
"I don't agree with that, at all. I absolutely disagree with this."
Lott says not applicable should count against an employee.
Lott said, "It's my contention that if you're missing three or four criteria, then your job was certainly easier than most and your performance was not outstanding."
Lott says employees who do more tasks, work harder and are therefore entitled to the bonus. But he admits the old evaluation system is subjective and confusing for supervisors and employees.
"There are gaps. There are missing component, as anybody can see. However we're taking an effort to fix this under Performance Pro," said Lott. Performance Pro is the new evaluation system the city is now implementing.
But it's too late for Patel and at least a dozen other employees who've complained to us that they too didn't received the bonus because of the not-applicable categories.
Assistant City Manager Kevin Hogencamp says some employees, whose not applicable scores caused them to miss out on the bonus, went directly to the Human Resource Director. He says the problem was fixed, and they got the money. Hogencamp said it's not fair that not everyone, with this problem, got that same result.