North Judson Town Marshal Kelly Fisher asked Town Council members if it would be permissible to pay some officers for a few remaining unused vacation days.
She noted that if it wasn’t allowed, she would just ask the officers to take the time off.
Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe highlighted one relevant rule on the books which states that if the days don’t get used by the end of the year, they go away. However, there isn’t an existing policy that regulates whether or not employees can be paid for them prior to the end of the year.
Councilwoman Wendy Hoppe mentioned that paying out vacation days was something the council has done in the past. She added the reason they allowed it is because officials at the time determined it would cost less to pay the officers for the unused days than it would to pay someone to cover their shift.
Town Council President John Rowe said that he thinks that’s only the case if you’re paying a full-time officer for over time and added that it might be less expensive to get a part-time officer to cover the shifts.
Council President Rowe provided his perspective on the matter.
He noted, “The way I look at vacation is simple, it’s for your mind, it’s for your relaxing, it’s for your body, you need them. I believe people need them, personally myself, whether they know it or not, that’s a different story but I believe people need it”
Rowe admitted that was just his personal opinion but went on to express a concern that paying for the unused days might set a precedent. He said he was worried employees might save up all their vacation time to get the money instead, subsequently costing the town more money in the long-run.
Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe mentioned that the Town already has a rule in place that wouldn’t allow for that to happen.
He explained, “We do have a policy where you have to take half of them by labor day and you know, maybe there’s a thought there where if you have two days or a day left over, that’s not such a big deal.
To address President Rowe’s concern even further, Town Attorney Justin Schramm offered up a recommendation.
Schramm stated, “If you want to pay it out, just wrap it up into a motion where you understand that you’re deviating from the practice that you set […] ‘We acknowledge that we’re deviating from our standard practice. It does not mean that anyone can count on pay out in future years.’ ”
He emphasized the decision was ultimately up to council members wanted them to be aware of that option.
A motion to that effect was made and passed with a unanimous vote.