Portage City Council approves vacation policy for department heads

2012-12-05T00:00:00Z Portage City Council approves vacation policy for department headsJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | The Portage City Council on Tuesday approved 4-1 an ordinance amendment outlining vacation policy for department heads.

It wasn't completed, however without a squabble between the Republican mayor and some Democrat council members. It also didn't clarify the future vacations for assistant department heads.

The amendment grandfathers-in all department superintendent and assistant superintendent vacations for 2012. It also sets policy to allow the mayor to grant two weeks of vacation for new department heads with the council being able to grant up to four weeks for a new superintendent hire. It did not address vacation policy in the future for assistants.

Councilman Matt Scheuer said it also does not reflect the intent of the council's ordinance committee. For example, Park Superintendent Jenny Orsburn was given four weeks of vacation this year. Under the new amendment, she would only get two next year unless the council voted to give her additional vacation.

It was not the intent, Scheuer said, to take away vacation time.

"The previous mayor was given carte blanche by the council," Mayor James Snyder regarding vacations.

Under that direction, or lack thereof, Snyder negotiated with new department heads and their assistants giving them four weeks of vacation during their first year of employment.

Snyder said some department heads and assistants were brought in from the outside and "walked into messes" with their departments and none have been able to take their full vacation times.

Council President Sue Lynch urged Snyder and the City Council not to talk about the past.

"I don't want to hear any more about the past. Let's not regurgitate the past. Let's move forward," Lynch said.

Councilman Mark Oprisko voted against the amendment, saying he didn't believe assistant superintendents should have been granted four weeks of vacation this year. Council members Liz Modesto and Ted Uzelac were absent.

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