Item twelve on Monday’s agenda drew many interested parish workers to the Police Jury Meeting. At issue was the jury wanting to control their expense liability by putting a limit on the amount of vacation time employees could save up.
During the public comment section of the meeting road department worker Scott Wadkins came to the microphone to say at present they now have 240 hours of vacation time to carry over. The proposal on the agenda would reduce that to 80 hours.
Wadkins said his time had been used for knee surgery. “If I didn’t have the 240 hours and leave time I would not have made it,” stated Wadkins. He complained, “The pay is low, and there was no increase this year. Yall keep benefit cutting so taking money away from us. I worked and earned it and we ought to be able to keep it.”
Toward the end of the meeting the jury took up the resolution to change the accrual carry over. Juror Thomas Jones said, “We understand that we are taking a benefit to be used when needed. But the Jury has to assure we have to take care of our business. Hours of vacation cost us more and more because the hourly wage goes up. If we pay them for it they will get more per hour than it would have been worth back when accrued.” Jones said, “We want you to take your time of to refresh. We want you to take the time off. Not trying to penalize anyone but trying to assure a good business decision for everyone.”
An alternate motion was proposed by Juror Jerri Burrell. Instead of passing the motion on the table, she wanted them to go to a workshop to decide how to accrue vacation. Juror James Holmes spoke up for looking at the way employees earn their vacation. His proposal was that days worked in the current year would earn vacation time that could be taken in the following year.
After a bit of sometimes heated discussion, Burrell’s alternate motion died for lack of a second. The jury may later look into the proposals concerning how vacation time is accrued, however the discussion concluded that the alternate proposal would amend a different part of their ordinances, and did not apply to the matter on the floor.
Then the jury voted approval of the original motion. It would put a cap of 80 hours of accrued vacation an employee could roll over at the end of the year. Anything above that would have to be used, or the employee could be paid for it prior to December 31st.