City adopts sick day donation policy

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – City employees will be able to donate unused sick leave and vacation days to colleagues who have exhausted theirs due to serious health conditions.

After several months of discussion and study by the Finance and Personnel Committee, the City Council Tuesday approved a policy on the question.

“This question has come up twice in the five years I’ve been here,” City Administrator Brian Yerges told the council.

His memo to the council on the proposed policy noted that in the past, when employees have exhausted all their available off days and still were not able to work, “we have allowed an unpaid leave of absence depending on the unique circumstances.”

“This establishes a formal donation of leave policy which currently does not exist,” Yerges said.

No employee would be able to donate more than 10 sick days and 10 vacation days a year to other employees, and no employee could receive more than 60 donated leave days a year under the new policy.

“We did spend a lot of time talking about this,” Alderman Shawn Marcom, who chairs the Finance and Personnel Committee, told the council. “I think this is well thought-out and it’s a good policy that makes sense.”

“I think this is a good simple plan without confusion,” Mayor Donald Pohlman agreed.

The council approved joining a new municipal property insurance plan co-sponsored by the Cities and Villages Mutual Insurance Corp., the Wisconsin League of Municipalities and the Wisconsin Counties Association.

The city’s premium for property coverage through the new Municipal Property Insurance Co. will be $30,245 a year.

Yerges explained that the city, like many other municipalities, had previously had property insurance through the state’s Local Government Property Insurance Fund.

But the most-recent state budget has begun phasing out that fund. Yerges noted that the budget originally eliminated the fund entirely, but it was kept in place to serve a number of communities and school districts that were unable to find property insurance coverage elsewhere.

However, premiums are going up under the state fund, with the quote for Plymouth at $52,965, according to Yerges.

Those increases led to the creation of the MPIC, Yerges said.

For comparison, he continued, the city obtained a quote from Tricor Insurance for property insurance and that premium was $45,453.

“Thankfully for the city, there is another option,” Yerges said of the MPIC.

Yerges assured the council that changing property insurance coverages would not impact the city’s pending claim on the Huson Water Tower, destroyed earlier this summer in what is suspected of being an arson fire.

That incident occurred while the city was still covered under the state fund, and the state fund will continue to honor and process that claim.

Plymouth Public Library Director Martha Rosche updated the council on the library’s next event to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

In conjunction with the Plymouth School District’s Community Education and Recreation Department, the library will hold a monthlong “One book, one community” discussion of the new Harper Lee novel “Go Set a Watchman.”

The program will include lectures, discussions and programs related to the book at various locations in the community.

It will also include two showings of the movie “To Kill a Mockingbird,” based on Lee’s first novel which includes the same characters as “Go Set a Watchman.” One will be in the high school auditorium and one will be at the library.

“We’ve had a lot of very positive feedback already,” Rosche said of the program. “It should be real good for the community to come together.”

She said the idea behind the event is from a quote from Mary McGrory of the Washington Post: “The idea is that the city that opens the same book closes it in greater harmony.”

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