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City employee policies to be enforced

Date: 8/3/2011

Aug. 3, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

HOLYOKE — If you don’t have the time, you can’t take it.

Mayor Elaine Pluta said the practice of part-time non-union employees receiving benefits they don’t deserve is going to stop now.

Pluta explained to Reminder Publications that while the number of abuses is not “wide-spread,” it has cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars over a period of many years.

Examples of the violations include “allowing part-time employees to take paid personal days when only full-time employees are entitled to personal days; paying part-time employees for legal holidays when only full-time employees are entitled to paid holidays; paying part-time employees for sick leave when they are only allowed to accrue unpaid sick leave; and improperly calculating the amount of vacation leave and sick leave earned by part-time employees by not utilizing the ratio that their part-time employment bears to full-time employment,” according to information released by the mayor.

She said the policy prohibiting these abuses has been in place for years, but the employees in question were not following it.

By working with a number of city departments, Pluta discovered the problem and non-union employees received a memorandum on July 29 stating that, effective immediately, the city would be strictly enforcing all ordinances and policies relating to non-union employee leave.

A report issued in January to city officials from the Massachusetts Inspector General recommended the use of time sheets and MUNIS software to track and update an employee’s sick and vacation leave. Employees will have to fill out time sheets.

Pluta noted there would be no terminations of violators of the city’s leave policy.

“We are just moving forward,” she said.

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