Council discusses city employee vacation time

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — The Sidney City Council discussed several topics during Monday’s hybrid-style teleconference meeting, including the observation of 2021 beggars’ night, the deadline extension of city employees’ vacation leave and potential grants to improve dilapidated buildings in the city of Sidney.

In 2021, Halloween will fall on a Sunday. After a brief discussion of when would be best to hold Trick-or-Treat in the city of Sidney, City Council determined to observe beggars’ night from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021.

Mayor Mike Barhorst reminded the public this year’s Trick-or-Treat in Sidney on will be on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, from 4 to 6 p.m.

City Manager Mark Cundiff led a discussion on the extension of the vacation leave conformance deadline city employees. Earlier in 2020, council took temporary action to allow employees to accrue vacation time in excess of the limits currently established in the ordinance, providing they bring their accruals into conformance by the end of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the end of year approaches and the pandemic continues to hamper city employees’ ability to use available leave, Cundiff said city staff recommends extending the vacation accrual to be extended from Dec. 31, 2020, to June 30, 2021. Employees would be required to bring their leave accruals into conformance with levels established by ordinance by the end of the second quarter of 2021.

Council members were split about the recommendation, as it will be likely the extension may need to be pushed back again in 2021. Barhorst pointed out the pandemic will likely not subside until early next fall. Members were conflicted about the best plan forward. Cundiff noted in some cases some essential employees are unable to take vacation time and then they could lose those vacation days. He said they considered offering a pay out for the time unable to be taken, but didn’t want to set a precedent for a payout versus taking vacation days off. Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan suggested looking into a hybrid plan of offering a payout and extending some of the time. Cundiff said city staff will go back and reconsider options to bring back to council for further discussion.

Council also resolved to cancel the second regular meeting on Dec. 28, 2020, which is traditionally canceled. Usually council also cancels its December workshop session on the first Monday of the month, but this year, it will be held in conjunction with the Sidney Planning Commission meeting on Dec. 21, 2020, in order to review any potential changes to the zoning code.

During City Manager comments, Cundiff sought council’s consent to move forward with applying for various grants to help revitalize buildings in the city of Sidney, such as the deteriorated Wagner Building or the Ohio Building. He said Jobs Ohio and the Dayton Development Coalition offer various options city staff is looking into and wanted to make City Council aware ahead of submitting pre-applications. Cundiff was directed to more forward.

Sidney Police Chief Will Balling told council during staff comments the department collected 125 pounds of medication/drugs during Saturday’s Drug Take Back Day. He said it was a good way to get dangerous drugs off the streets.

Council also went into an executive session to prepare for negotiations or bargaining sessions with public employees and to consider the employment of a public employee. No action was taken by members after they came out of the session.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.