Translate this page

Supervisor: 'High-Dollar Abuses' Need to Stop


Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Issue 49, Volume 17.


RIVERSIDE - Riverside County supervisors today asked staffers for a review of policies that permit employees to "bank" hundreds of hours unused vacation and sick time that can be cashed in later under what one supervisor called a "non-transparent," questionably accurate process.

"When you have an organization with more than 18,000 employees, there are inevitably going to be a few who will try to game the system," Supervisor Jeff Stone said. "We are responsible to the taxpayers of this county. We need to have tighter restrictions, especially with respect to higher-paying positions. This is about greater accountability."

Stone and Supervisor Kevin Jeffries proposed the formation of "Require Every Department to Account for Cumulative Time," or REDACT, with the goal of reducing retirement, vacation and severance costs by adopting private sector policies.

"In recent instances, (the county) has paid out large sums of money to some persons who have retired, been dismissed, or left county employment for various reasons," Jeffries and Stone wrote.

Stone noted that a 10-year employee of the Riverside County Regional Medical Center recently cashed in a year's worth of accumulated vacation and sick time.

"How does that happen?" the supervisor wondered. "I'm finding the details are very sketchy."

According to the supervisors, "large payouts" have been the result of contracts or county resolutions intended to compensate employees for "extra time worked." Unused vacation time and sick days can be redeemed when an employee ends his or her county service.

"In many cases, these awards have been for thousands of accumulated hours of 'annual leave,' amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars," Jeffries and Stone wrote in their REDACT proposal.

Jeffries said REDACT should consider established practices at SoCal Edison, SoCal Gas and Verizon.

Board of Supervisors Chairman John Benoit suggested the county should also look at how his one-time employer, the California Highway Patrol, as well as the federal government handles "hours banking."

"They're a little more restrictive," Benoit said. "When I was in state service, we went from multiple annual leave banks to a single one for comp time, vacation time and sick time."

According to Stone, it's essential that hours amassed be properly documented.

"I'm finding that currently it's rather non-transparent and non- accurate," he said. "Payouts need to truly reflect the hours accrued."

County CEO Jay Orr said Executive Office staff could look at possible changes to hours banking by department heads and managers, but any wider revisions would have to await the expiration of collective bargaining agreements with unions that represent the vast majority of county employees.

Jeffries replied that he did not want any review held up because of Advertisement
Advertisement for Berry-Bell and Hall Mortuary
[ Berry-Bell and Hall Mortuary ]
union negotiations.

"It's management that has the really high-dollar abuses or payouts, however you want to look at it," the supervisor said. "These things give everybody a black eye and need attention right away."

Orr said he would "immediately" initiate a REDACT analysis pertaining to managers.

The issue of accrued vacation and sick time compensation came under close scrutiny two years ago when the board approved a four-year memorandum of understanding with the Deputy District Attorneys' Association.

Under the terms of that deal, county prosecutors are permitted to amass 2,080 hours of vacation time during their careers and can cash in 40 hours of unused time every quarter. The balance would be paid when a DDA retires or otherwise leaves the agency.

In exchange, the DDAA acquiesced to members paying more toward their own pensions.


Supervisors Seek Reform of County Severance Pay Policy

RIVERSIDE - Cutting severance pay and other benefits for Riverside County employees will be on the Board of Supervisors' agenda today.

Riverside County Supervisors Kevin Jeffries and Jeff Stone will be asking their colleagues to support a study on reducing retirement, vacation and severance pay by adopting private-sector policies and other methods.

The supervisors' proposal is titled "Require Every Department to Account for Cumulative Time," or REDACT.

"In recent instances, (the county) has paid out large sums of money to some persons who have retired, been dismissed, or left county employment for various reasons," Jeffries and Stone wrote in documents posted to the board's policy agenda.

According to the supervisors, "large payouts" have been the result of union contracts or county resolutions intended to compensate employees for "extra time worked." Unused vacation time and sick days can be redeemed for cash when an employee parts from county service.

"In many cases, these awards have been for thousands of accumulated hours of 'annual leave,' amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars," Jeffries and Stone said.

They emphasized the need for increased accountability in tracking and documenting employees' accrued leave time so that there are no irregularities and every hour is "verified, monitored and tracked."

The issue of accrued vacation and sick time compensation came under close scrutiny two years ago when the board approved a four-year memorandum of understanding with the Deputy District Attorneys' Association.

Under the terms of that deal, county prosecutors are permitted to amass 2,080 hours of vacation time during their careers and can cash in 40 hours of unused time every quarter. The balance would be paid when a DDA retires or otherwise leaves government service.

In exchange, the DDAA acquiesced to members paying more toward their own pensions.


 

0 comments


arrow Be the first to share your opinion on this article!
 

Add your Comment


Name

Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.




Disclaimer

The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter



Advertisement for The Bank





Subscribe


Most Commented


Reach Local Customers



The Valley News The Valley News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2014
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Sitemap
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds
Login