Franklin Township trustees worked to correct the excess vacation hours that have accumulated among township officers over the last two years at the Jan. 10 regularly scheduled meeting.
According to a contract provision, officers are entitled to retain up to 40 hours of unused, paid vacation time from the previous year to use in the upcoming year. Any hours exceeding the allotted 40 expire and can no longer be used.
Due to several lay-offs within the police department in 2006, the board of trustees made an exception and temporarily increased the allowable “roll-over” vacation hours at the beginning of 2007, leaving several members of the police department with a high number of amassed hours.
Department members requested to retain these hours in 2008 and the board has reluctantly approved the roll-over for the last time, promises trustee Chair Tim Guyton
“We made an exception one year ago because of the lay-offs. It was not brought up that we were going to have an issue in 2007,” said Vice Chair Cheryl Schrack.
The problem with continuing to approve a high number of hours for roll-over is the police staff risks a shortage if too many officers request excess vacation time on a staff of ten men.
“Everyone has to get their vacation hours down to the acceptable level to what the contract allows,” said Guyton.
Guyton requested that three men be scheduled for one shift and that no more than one officer be allowed off per shift, based on seniority. The master calendar on which the officers’ schedules are set is also in place to make sure that members of the department do not ask to use vacation hours simultaneously at the end of the year.
The Chief of Police, Mike Castle expects that the police department will get back on schedule this year.