Marysville City officials are looking to make a policy change they hope they will never use.
At Monday night’s city council work session, city administration recommended a change to the benefits package. Human resources director Brian Dostanko said the recent death of city planner Chad Flowers has made the city evaluate how it handles the death of an employee.
“It doesn’t happen that often so you don’t think about it,” Dostanko said.
He said it has only happened twice in his time in Marysville — in 2014 with then clerk of council Connie Patterson and in April with Flowers.
Dostanko said the city treats a death the way it would a retirement. He said vacation days are paid out but accrued sick time, up to 480 hours, is paid at one hour for each four hours earned.
He recommended paying up to 480 hours of sick time at a one to one ratio for an employee who dies.
“I haven’t found another city that has done anything as progressive as this,” Dostanko said. “I think we can be proud.”
Council member Nevin Taylor said he was not opposed to the move, but wanted to “run it through the finance committee.”
Finance Director Justin Nahvi said in the case of Flowers, if the time is paid at one to four, his family will receive $8,500 for the deferred benefits. If council approves a one to one payment option, the city will pay Flowers’ family $20,900.
Taylor said the move is not really about Flowers, though he said Flowers’ death has made the city look at its policies.
Taylor said he has been approached by city staff members wanting to donate their sick time to make sure Flowers’ family receives a significant payout. He said he appreciates that staff cares about one another.
Nahvi said he does to, though he said there are budgeting problems with sick time donation. He said some employees could be earning it at one pay rate, but donating to a person at a higher pay. Nahvi said using the one to one payment ratio would be a much simpler way to help the families.
“I like what is proposed,” Nahvi said. “I don’t think this would be used frequently.”
Also at the work session, council discussed a change to the city’s credit card policy. Nahvi said recently passed state legislation requires all municipalities to pass an updated credit card policy. He said the city will have a compliance officer who will hold the credit cards. Staff members wanting to use the card will need to sign it out and bring a receipt when the card is returned.
Nahvi said the cards will have a $3,000 per month limit, but officials will be able to pre-authorize additional spending, or authorize additional spending at the point of sale with a phone call.
Mayor J.R. Rausch asked how the change might impact spending for an upcoming trip to Japan. Nahvi said travel expenses wouldn’t necessarily be paid by credit card. He added that changes to the city’s travel policy are coming, “in the near future.”
The finance director said the cards should be used for “non-recurring incidentals” adding that anything that can be invoiced and billed should be done that way.
Nahvi said the cards are issued by Chase Bank, which offers 1% cash back. He said the city officials would determine which department made the expenditure and refund the cash to that department.
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