RACINE — Eight salaried Department of Public Works supervisors who pulled long hours directing snow removal this winter will be receiving the equivalent of an extra 50 hours of pay to compensate them for the work.
In a given year, the eight supervisors receive 100 hours of straight time to compensate them for the after-hours, weekend and holiday work they perform as part of their normal duties, wrote Public Works Commissioner Mark Yehlen in a memo to the Finance and Personnel Committee. Six of the eight also receive an additional 8 hours of straighttime pay every sixth week while they are on 24-hour call for the entire week.
Normally that straight time pay is enough to compensate the supervisors for extra work, Yehlen wrote, but this winter required the “eight supervisors to work multiple 12 to 16 hour shifts, around the clock, six to seven days a week, from the beginning of December through the end of February.”
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Those unexpected long hours rendered their typical compensation inadequate, he wrote. The cost to the department for the added compensation would be $14,072.74 for all eight supervisors, he stated, and the department would not have to pull money from other areas since vacancies in the street department had resulted in funds being available.
The payment request was approved by the Finance and Personnel Committee 3-1, but when it came before the City Council last week several aldermen balked at the proposal.
Yehlen explained in the memo that the City Council had approved similar, one-time 50 hour payments to supervisory staff during the winters of 1978-79, 1993-94, and 2007-08, but some aldermen said they couldn’t justify such a payment this year given the city’s current budget constraints.
The request was debated for roughly 30 minutes, but in the end it passed 8-6, with aldermen Jeff Coe, Krystyna Sarrazin, Mike Shields, Melissa Kaprelian-Becker, Sandy Weidner and Greg Helding voting no.