City approves amended sick leave policy for firefighters

Firefighters are now granted a higher cap in hours to use for sick leave in cause of a catastrophic illness

The News Courier

ATHENS, Ala. — Amid flickering lights and peals of thunder, Athens City Council moved quickly through its agenda Monday night to approve an amended sick leave policy for firefighters.

Through the resolution, firefighters are now granted a higher cap in hours to use for accruing sick leave in case of a “catastrophic illness,” said City Clerk Annette Barnes.

Typical city workers, or those who work in 8-hour shifts, can earn up to about 1,100 hours total in order to take off six consecutive months. Since firefighters work in 24-hour shifts, that cap would only give them four months, Barnes said.

The resolution raises their cap to 1,458 hours on a yearly basis in order to provide a six-month leave if necessary.

This resolution will not affect retirement, Barnes said. A firefighter can only apply the same amount of unused sick hours as a regular city employee when retiring.

“We’re just offering him an insurance in case he needs it,” council member Harold Wales said.

Sportsplex expansion plan
The council also approved a design fee for Phase II of the Athens Sportsplex. Approving the fee only gets the ball rolling to start planning the expansion, Mayor Ronnie Marks said.

The vote secures the terms of a design fee, Marks said, not the actual amount itself. Six percent of the total cost of the project is designated as the design fee, so the actual $180,000 mentioned in the resolution is the most the city will pay if the council is presented with high bids for the entire project.

Marks said he thinks the fee for the first part of Phase II construction will not break $10,000.

With the passage of the fee, Marks said the attention now turns to putting bid packages together. The council will be presented with possible bids in the near future.

Other business

The inclement weather forced council members to move all items to the consent agenda, which enabled them to use a single vote to deal with all items.

Councilman Chris Seibert was absent from the meeting, but the other members voted unanimously on the following:

  • Approved various expenses for the electric department;
  • Approved the purchase of a power broom attachment for the street department;
  • Approved the purchase of two salt and sand spreaders for the street department;
  • Approved the purchase of two snow plows for the street department;
  • Approved a resolution to provide ground maintenance to 14 substations located in residential and commercial areas;
  • Approved an ordinance abandoning several sanitary sewer easements no longer in use;
  • Approved a binder for the Old Decatur Road project;
  • Approved additional grant money and a construction contract with EMW Construction Inc., for the construction of the Trinity Project.

Athens City Council will meet again at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 27 at Athens Police headquarters on Hobbs Street.

Copyright 2014 The News Courier
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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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