The Spencer City Council on Monday night approved a resolution that gives the city manager more power over employee salary increases and changes vacation benefits from annual to monthly accrual.
Council members voted unanimously to approve the resolution and make both changes to the city’s employee handbook to reflect the new policies.
With the changes, the city manager now has the power to approve city employee salary step movement beyond the third step of the salary matrix. Previously, the council had to vote to approve movement past that point.
The language will be changed to allow the city manager – when a department head recommends – to place existing or new employees on any step.
According to agenda notes, any salary changes must be budgeted or have no impact on the budget to be approved.
“We wouldn’t recommend a change if the budget wouldn’t be able to maintain that,” Spencer City Manager Amanda Mack said.
Councilman George Moriarty asked Mack whether there are any measures in place that would prevent a department head from hiring a friend and recommending they be placed at the top of the salary matrix.
“The city manager oversees that, but I think just the general integrity of the staff is what keeps that from happening,” Mack said.
Vacation benefits to accrue monthly
For vacation benefits, city employees now will have vacation time that builds up monthly, rather than annually.
“What this will allow us to do is bring it in line with how sick leave is accrued for employees,” Mack said. “So it will be a monthly accrual, which is very helpful for new employees. Currently, new employees don’t have access to their vacation time until they’ve been with the city for a year. So this will allow them to have access to that time as they accrue it.”
Councilman Bill Orrison said he believes the changes, especially the monthly accrual of vacation benefits, will help the city become a more desired employer.
“If the city’s going to be, or we’d like to be, an employer of choice, (get) people who want to be here, I think it just makes sense,” Orrison said.