Commissioners want answers about employee bonuses - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Commissioners want answers about employee bonuses

March 30, 2006

Albany - An email released through an open request shows City Manager Alfred Lott told city commissioners and WALB-TV contradicting information about how employee bonuses were handed out. Commissioners are demanding detailed information about how employees were evaluated and who received the $1,100 bonus. Commissioners says many employees are complaining that the evaluation process wasn't fair.

As more employee complaints roll in, most city commissioners still refuse to talk about the bonus controversy. But commissioner Jon Howard says he wants employees to know commissioners are looking into how the job evaluations were calculated and who received the bonuses.

"We certainly want to make sure all our city employees are being treated fairly and that we respect them and the hard work they've done in the past," said Howard.

The city commission requested a full report from City Manager Alfred Lott on April 18th.

Howard said, "We just want an explanation so when we go back to talk to employees or constituents we will have a good, detailed information as to why some got the bonus and some did not get the bonus."

Howard says most complaints have come from lower level employees.

"Some employees, who don't supervise other employees, really can't justify their system of grading."

They told Howard they received "not applicable" on certain criteria that they weren't required to do, like training and managing employees. They say those N/A's unfairly lowered their scores and caused them to miss out on the bonus.

At first the city manager said that wasn't the case.

In a February 16th email to Commissioner Bob Langstaff, Lott wrote "If someone was rated N/A, that should not have had a negative effect."

But just last week, Lott told us that "not applicable" should and did count against some employees. This is what he said during our March 24th interview, "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."

Simit Patel is one city employee who didn't get the bonus because the N/A lowered his score. He quit over it and so did former Assistant City Manager Kevin Hogencamp. Hogencamp says some employees who complained to the HR Director got their scores changed and received the bonus. He says all employees should have been treated equally.

Howard admits that if commissioners find the bonuses weren't given out correctly, the city may not be able to dish out more money but they will admit the mistake.

"If some mistakes were made, you have to admit those mistakes were made and then move forward to try to improve that system."

The city manager said he will not comment on this issue again until giving the city commissioners his report on April 18th.

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