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Council debates holiday pay for staff

While Breezy Point City Council members had an updated version of the personnel handbook before them Monday night, April 1, one matter was left unsolved — how to compensate staff for holiday pay.

The council had debated the matter at its February meeting because the city was paying employees double time and a half pay for holidays, while the personnel handbook stated employees should receive time and a half for holidays. On a split vote, the council decided in February to pay time and a half for worked holidays.

The council made a different decision Monday. The council voted unanimously to give staff members who work on a holiday their normal paid day off, plus time and a half for hours worked that day.

Council member Scott Willer had proposed the council pay double time for hours worked on a holiday, but the council defeated his proposal. He then voted with the rest of the council for holiday pay plus time and a half for hours worked.

The council noted that work on holidays was only on rare instances, for example, when a snowstorm takes place on Christmas, or branches are blown down on Independence Day.

The council adopted the new version of the personnel handbook unanimously.

Public safety

Breezy Point Police Chief Kevin Merschman reported a total of 158 calls to service for March, down from 173 for the same month in 2012.

Those calls included 50 traffic, two traffic arrests, 21 agency assists, 13 animal-related, 12 medical and 50 miscellaneous.

In other business April 1, the council:

• Accepted the auditor’s report from Schlenner Wenner & Co. Molly Thomas, representing the company, presented the audit to the council, noting there were no issues and praising the staff for their help and good work.

• Decided not to allow a Deacon’s Lodge sign on city right-of-way property. Though the council noted they were in favor of the sign itself, the city has a policy of not allowing signs on city right-of-way, which it did not wish to break.

Representing Deacon’s Lodge, Jeff Johnson noted reasons why other locations for the sign would not work. He also commented on the need for a sign. Mayor JoAnn Weaver said the corner (Weaver’s Point and County Road 11) is a dangerous one. Council members noted they hope another solution will be found.

• Approved fire contracts with Pequot Lakes and Ideal Township, each of which will respond to issues for different parts of the city.

• Noted that volunteers are being accepted for the Day of Caring, coordinated by Pequot Lakes High School Principal Chip Rankin. Weaver told the council students will provide volunteer services May 9, including helping individuals who have difficulty with tasks like raking leaves, washing the outside of windows, washing cars and walking dogs. Anyone who knows an individual who could use this help, or would like to volunteer, can contact Weaver at 218-562-4196.

• Struck an item from the agenda that had received a tie vote at a previous meeting. The matter in question was the purchase of a mower for the sewer department. Willer argued that because the item had tied in vote, it was defeated and should not reappear on the agenda. City administrator Joe Rudberg said that technically Willer was correct. Council member Otto Schmid requested that because purchase of the recommended mower did not pass, perhaps alternative solutions could be presented at the city’s next council meeting.