Pair of retirements add up in Altoona, change could be in the fu - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Pair of retirements add up in Altoona, change could be in the future


Eau Claire (WQOW) - We're beginning to see another impact of the new collective bargaining law.  One city could soon eliminate a retirement benefit. 

In Altoona, when a city employee quits or retires the city pays them a certain amount of unused sick time and vacation.  On Thursday night, the Altoona City Council will look to amend the 2011 budget to pay two retiring employees a total of just over $50,000. 

Each year, the City of Altoona sets aside money to cover unexpected costs, such as retirement pay. 

"The vacation generally, employees are allowed to carry over up to two years and for sick leave, depending on their hire date anywhere from 300 to 600 hours," says Mike Golat, Altoona City Administrator. 

In certain situations that can add up. 

"The Police Chief is obviously one of our higher paid employees, so his payout would be on the higher side because of his wage," says Golat.  "And two happening at the same time is a bit unusual." 

With Governor Walker's changes to collective bargaining, Golat says Altoona will look to make changes to its policy regarding sick pay. 

"The idea is that they view it more as an insurance policy, so if an employee gets sick, they have it there, but it shouldn't be a benefit that is carried out and paid out at the time of departure from the city," says Golat. 

That's not an issue in the Eau Claire because the city doesn't pay employees unused sick time. 

"There is no payout or cash value to any sick leave that is unused," says Dale Peters, City of Eau Claire Director of Human Resources.  "Vacation time that is on the books that's unused is paid out or in some cases the employee remains on vacation the last couple of weeks." 

Peters says paying unused vacation does not have a great impact. 

"Generally speaking when an employee retires or quits there is only a few weeks of vacation time and typically we don't hire a new person until they've used up that vacation time," says Peters. 

The City of Eau Claire also offers some employees comp time instead of paying overtime costs.  And employees retiring from Eau Claire can stay on the city's health insurance plan if they pay an agreed amount.

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