Council Poised to Strip Borough Employee Benefits
Without prior notice, Council President Claudette Williams scheduled a work session for Friday night, August 23rd, to address unidentified personnel policies. She did not distribute any agenda in advance of the meeting and ignored council members requests for an identification of the issues to be discussed. The Borough has a personnel committee to which such matters are referred in the ordinary course. In scheduling the work session, Williams complained that she thought the personnel committee would move too slowly. However, despite having raised her desire for (unidentified) changes months ago, the personnel committee was never asked to address any such issues. Williams is head of the personnel committee and it would be her responsibility to call such meetings. For over 2 hours 15 minutes, Williams led an often unruly meeting in which members frequently interrupted other speakers, audience members spoke up without identification and out of turn, and members talked over other members.
Despite the excessive length of the meeting, the Council covered only five pages out of the fifteen page personnel manual. Council members frequently appeared not to understand their own policy, the law, or the consequences of heir proposals. The members did not even all have copies of the same version of the policy. Williams added to the length by insisting that each section be read aloud at the meeting. Over the course of the meeting, Williams and Montanez asked Council to, among other things,
Strip benefits from permanent part time workers.
Reduce the temporary payment period for worker comp applicants from 60 days to one week
Reduce vacations earned after two years from 10 to 7 days
Remove or reduce accumulated sick leave and strip employees of any sick leave during the first 90 days of employment.
Eliminate the opt-out benefit for employees who save the Borough thousands of dollars by choosing not to be covered by health insurance
Other than those who customarily attend meetings, no employees were present or invited to attend the session, and it appears that the changes had not been discussed with them prior to the meeting. However, Williams met with some road crew members afterwards, but reports of what she told them are inconsistent. At the end of the meeting, the council president rejected a suggestion that she check with the members who were unable to attend the Friday night session, and scheduled yet another work session for 5 pm tonight.
In addition to Montanez and Williams, the meeting was attended by erstwhile council member Oser, and members O'Boyle, Casole, and Keeler. Absent were council members Matt Hensel and Tom Ford. Ford was given three days notice of the meeting and had a prior obligation. Hensel, who had objected to preempting the personnel committee, had a family obligation that evening. We've uploaded the audio and our notes on the discussion on our COUNCIL AGENDA & MINUTES page.