Oct 302013

By Nick Worth
Navajo County employees were given a one-time pay adjustment and a vacation sell-back plan last week.
County Finance Director James Menlove told the Board of Supervisors Oct. 22 that according to the plan, all county employees with a hire date of Nov. 1, 2012, or earlier will receive a one-time payment of $500.
Employees with a hire date of Nov. 2, 2012, or later will receive a pro-rata percentage of the one-time $500 payment based on the number of whole months worked since being hired.
The employees with a hire date of Nov. 1, 2012, or earlier will also receive a one-time payment of one percent of their annual salary, up to a $500 maximum.
Temporary, contract and part-time employees not eligible for benefits are not eligible for the one-time payment.
Menlove said the payment would be included in the regular employee paychecks to be issued on Nov. 22. He also noted that one-time IRS or Arizona withholding allowance changes would not be allowed.
According to the plan, employees will be paid the following one-time rates based on the number of whole months they have worked for the county: 12 months or more, $500; 11 months, $458.33; 10 months, $416.67; nine months, $375; eight months, $333.33; seven months, $291.67; six months, $250; five months, $208.33; four months, $166.67; three months, $125; two months, $83.33; and one month, $41.67.
District IV Supervisor David Tenney said he was in favor of the plan.
“I believe we need to take care of our employees,” Tenney said.
The board approved the plan unanimously.
Menlove also explained the vacation sell-back plan, which is designed to reduce the county’s annual leave liability. He noted that Navajo County currently allows employees to have 320 hours of accrued leave on the books.
“Most other counties and businesses only allow up to 240 hours,” Menlove said. He said the vacation sell-back plan will allow employees to get some extra money by selling back unused leave time, while bringing the county back toward the goal of allowing 240 hours of accrued leave.
Menlove explained that the sell-back plan has been set up with two different options.
Under Option A, permanent employees may be eligible to sell from eight to 24 hours of annual leave hours back to the county. To be eligible the employees must have at least 80 hours of annual leave and 80 hours of sick leave remaining in their accounts after the sellback. They must also have used at least 40 hours of vacation time in 2013.
Menlove said there is also a provision for the employees to donate up to 40 hours of leave time to the Continuously Achieving and Reaching Employees (CARE) Bank instead of using the 40 hours. These donated hours can then be used by employees who may need extended sick leave and don’t have enough hours of their own.
Under Option B, permanent employees can sell up to 80 hours of leave back to the county.
To be eligible for Option B, an employee must have 240 or more accrued hours as of Dec. 31 of this year. The sellback will be paid over a two-year period, and will be added to regular employee paychecks issued on March 28, 2014, and March 27, 2015.
Menlove said through these two options the county would reduce its allowable leave hours from 320 on Dec. 31, 2013, to 280 as of Dec. 31, 2014. By Dec. 1, 2015, employees will only be allowed to carry 240 hours of accrued leave in their accounts.
All sell-back applications must be approved by the department heads and are due in the finance department by Friday, March 14, 2014.
“The sell-back program is entirely voluntary,” Menlove said.
“What will happen if an employee does not sell their extra hours?” asked District III Supervisor Sylvia Allen. “Will they lose them?”
“If they do not sell their hours that are over the limit, they will forfeit them,” Menlove said. “The hours will then be swept into the CARE Bank.”
The board voted unanimously to adopt the sell-back plan.