BELLAIRE - Village Council agreed Monday to discuss a proposition from Board of Public Affairs member John Leonard in regard to a change in structure to how part-time village employees are paid.
The motion, which was approved 6-0, will send Leonard's plan to offer tiered pay scales to part-time workers, to the council's ordinance committee.
In Leonard's estimation, it will help the village out financially in the long run and also make it easier to find part-time help by offering a bump in the pay scale for potential workers who have specialized training and licenses.
Leonard also theorized the pay tiers could extend to part-time police officers, who he stated would receive $12 per hour, sans health insurance.
"You can't find a back-hoe operator for $8.14 an hour," Leonard had said.
Not all village officials agree with the plan however.
Count Police Chief Mike Kovalyk among the dissenting opinions.
"John doesn't speak for the police department," Kovalyk said. "And really, it's not fair to the full-time workers already on staff who haven't received a raise since 2005.
Kovalyk is entering his 33rd year on the Bellaire Police Department.
He stated that the original inclusion of part-time workers to the police force and other village departments was meant to supplement the work force, not replace it.
"The purpose of using part-time officers or workers is not to replace, but was supposed to be utilized in addition to the full-time workforce," Kovalyk said. "They could cover vacations, extended sick leave, those types of situations. They weren't meant to replace the full-time person."
Kovalyk said this is especially crucial for the police department.
A part-time officer may have a full-time position elsewhere, or multiple part-time jobs. They may work, at best, 1-2 shifts per week.
Their availability is limited because of their other employment obligations and it hampers their ability to cover other shifts on short notice.
Not only that, but he cited an example of if a part-time officer handled a call, it might be a week or two until he works again and the complainant may have to wait an unnecessary amount of time to get their situation resolved.
If Leonard's plan goes through, some part-time workers could receive a substantial bump in pay while full-time workers are left at the rate that's been in place since 2005.
Leonard countered that argument by stating that for the full-time workers receiving health benefits, the cost the village pays to provide said insurance has to count for something to the individual employees. He noted the part-time employees received no insurance or benefits, outside of the village paying into the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).
Kovalyk explained that while the village covers the premium costs, full-time village employees have out-of-pocket costs, including a $3,000 deductible for family insurance.
The proposal will now go to committee and be hashed out before any potential ordinance will come before council.
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