Employee benefits revisited
RIVERSIDE—“Wouldn’t it be nice if all city council meetings were like this?” asked Riverside mayor Bill Poch at the end of the city council meeting on Monday, Oct. 21, to the other council members who were present.
The meeting lasted a couple of minutes past an hour’s time and was conducted in a calm orderly matter. The primary discussion was about part-time employee benefits and what the city is responsible to pay for. This topic came up twice at the meeting.
The meeting began with the approval of the agenda and the consent agenda. Councilor Chris Kirkwood made the motion to accept the expenditures but wanted the insurance stipend for Becky LaRoche excluded. The stipend was for the amount of $2,716.26.
“I have a question,” said city deputy clerk Lory Young. “Why are we pulling that off when it was already approved to be paid at the last city council meeting?”
According to the employee handbook, LaRoche is able to receive an insurance stipend because she has worked over 20 hours as a part-time employee for more than six months for the city. At the previous city council meeting on Oct. 7, the council approved unanimously to pay the stipend, which was motioned by Kirkwood, according to the minutes from the meeting.
Kirkwood said she felt the council needed to have further discussion on the insurance stipend. She asked to have the part-time benefits placed on the work session scheduled for Monday, Nov. 18, at 5:30 p.m.
Poch brought the motion to vote on the agenda items for the work session, which included not only part-time benefits but also senior dining. The four council members who were present approved the motion unanimously. Bob Schneider Jr. was absent.
Poch was ready to move on to the next part of the agenda, but Kirkwood said she had a motion to make about the work session.
“I’m confused,” Poch said. “Didn’t we just have a vote on a motion for the work session?”
He asked councilor Kevin Kiene, Nate Kasdorf, and Ralph Schnoebelen if that was correct, and they answered yes. Kirkwood asked Poch to let her make the motion and it would explain why she wasn’t finished with the topic. Poch said OK.
“I move to direct the city-appointed attorney to look at our employee handbook and resolution 04152013-1 to tell us what the council is required to pay out on that [part-time benefits] to a part-time employee who chooses not to take out medical, dental and other non-lead benefits meaning vacation, holiday, and sick pay,” Kirkwood said.
The discussion about the part-time benefits payout was done before an attorney was appointed by the city council. Kirkwood said she felt better having the newly appointed city attorney review the employee handbook because this topic could have further legal repercussions for the council in the future.
The motion was approved unanimously.
Other topics covered at the city council meeting included:
approving a resolution for the public hearing on the city’s capital improvement plan, which includes water main replacements and a sanitary sewer project on the west side of Riverside, for Nov. 18, at 7 p.m;
approving a donation of $1,050 to the Midwest Military Outreach organization. This pays for 30 tickets for local veterans to attend the Veterans banquet, which will be held at the Riverside Casino on Nov. 8;
and heard an update on the English River Watershed Management Authority from Ryan Schlabaugh and Jody Bailey. Bailey had originally planned to ask the council to approve a resolution to be co-coordinator on the grant application to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, but the government shutdown has pushed things back. She asked the council to revisit the topic with her at the next meeting. The council agreed to have this on the next agenda.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 4, at 6:30 p.m.