Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Council Tabled Resolutions for Invocation Policy and Accumulated Leave Payout for Bonanni & Gougher

Galloway Township Council tabled three resolutions that have become the center of public scrutiny in the past few weeks. Former township manager Stephen Bonanni and CFO Jill Gougher will have to wait until the next scheduled council meeting to find out if the Township will approve resolutions authorizing payment for their Accumulated Sick and Vacation Leave which totaled $94,855.67.

A resolution that would have approved a new Invocation Policy was also tabled at the request of the committee which is chaired by Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola.  Coppola requested additional time in order to clarify wording in order to state Council members will not be mandated to say a prayer. Previously released by the Township were 26 pre-selected prayers that would be used on a rotating basis and approved by the Township Solicitor. The resolution has been rescheduled for the next regular Council Meeting on February 12, 2013. 

The other two resolutions would have approved payment for Accumulated Sick and Vacation Leave for both Bonanni and Gougher. The reason for those resolutions to be tabled, according to Mayor Don Purdy, was to have Township Manager Arch Liston take another look at the numbers. The resolutions were previously scheduled to be approved on Council's Reorganization agenda. They were removed at that time in order for Labor Counsel to review the payout amounts.

Gougher who resigned in October 2011, was anticipated to receive her second payment of $21,545.23 in the year of 2013. Gougher is due her final payment according to a pre-approved payment schedule, of $21,545.20 in the year of 2014. 

Bonanni who resigned in January 2012, was anticipated to receive the balance of his payment this month. However Bonanni will now have to wait until February 12, 2013 to find out if he will receive his final balance of $51,765.24.  Bonanni was the only employee who had a specific provision in his Memorandum of Understanding which would guarantee his Sick time to be protected if legislation was ever passed capping Sick Leave payouts by municipalities. 


Anonymous said...

These people should get the dollar value of unused leave for each year - not the accumulated unused days times the current rate of pay.

Let's assume that the employee had a total of 18 hours of unpaid sick leave because he used all of his sick leave for every year except for three years. Let's assume that the unused time was 10 hours 20 years ago, 5 hours 7 years ago and 3 hours on his retirement year. Let's also assume that the employee's hourly rate was $9.00 per hour 20 years ago; $25.00 per hour 7 years ago; and $35.00 per hour in his retirement year. His year-by-year accumulated payout should have been ($9.00 times 10 hours) plus ($25.00 times 5 hours) plus ($35.00 times 3 hours) which equals: $320.00.

However, the lazy way is to simply pay out the unused hours as $35.00 times 18 hours, which equals $630.00.

The difference is quite significant!

I believe that since salaries and benefits are negotiated and budgeted each year, paying a terminating employee with unbudgeted money is illegal. I also believe that the terminating employee was being granted illegal, unapproved and unbudgeted de-facto retroactive salary increases by compensating him for time accrued at a lesser pay rate but compensating him at a higher pay rate many years later.

Proper and intended utilization of the budgeted money would have been to pay the terminating employee with the year-by-year calculation method above. The expedient (lazy) and fiscally-incompetent way is to multiply the current pay times the total unused hours that occured at vaiious times over the past 20 years.

I am sure that the employee handbook does not state precisely how the payment for unused hours is calculated but I believe that the budgeted method would be highly-defensible in court because municipalities are not permitted to spend more than they are permitted under law and approved by municipal resolution in the acceptance of the budgets.

Someone should look into this.

Anonymous said...

First Bonanni should pay back the Township for all the hours he spent doing personal recreation on company time. I can bet their won't be any money left to pay him his so-called accrued sick time!

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