Albany budget cuts back leave accrual and pay raises - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany budget cuts back leave accrual and pay raises

June 13, 2006

Albany - City of Albany employees might not get a proposed pay raise as soon as they thought. City manager Alfred Lott now recommends postponing the raises until October. Originally, they were set to start July 1st. Lott said delaying the raises will save the city about $660,000.

Lott proposed a 3% raise for all employees and an additional increase for public safety officers. The average public safety employees would get a $4,500 pay increase, under the proposed plan. Commissioners made no decision Tuesday.

Veteran Albany city employees are also facing another blow in an effort to save taxpayer money. Tuesday, a group of Water, Gas and Light employees packed the commission chambers to show their opposition to proposed changes to the city's sick and vacation leave plan.

For years, city employees could accrue unused sick and vacation days and cash them out when they retired or left under certain circumstances. That forced the city to pay the former city manager around $90,000 when she left town. Commissioners are now considering phasing in a reduction in sick leave pay-outs for unused days.

If an employee retired July 1st, they'd get reimbursed at 80% of their pay. That pay-out would go down over the years. Employee Shane Tucker said some employees were promised the pay-outs long ago and planned their retirement around them.

"The majority of employees feel if they come to work everyday and if they're not laying out sick, when it's their time to leave or retire those hours that they've accumulated should be paid for," said WG&L employee Shane Tucker.

"We've got to adjust," said Commissioner Bob Langstaff. "There's a finite amount of money out there, and there's a finite amount of taxpayer dollars to work with or you just break the back of the taxpayers."  

Under the proposed changes, new city employees must use their vacation and sick days or lose them at the end of the year. Some commissioners said that's how it should have been long ago.

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