ARCANUM — A dozen village employees attended Tuesday night’s Arcanum Village Council meeting to address their concerns regarding potential changes to employee benefits and rules.
Among the issues of concern raised were changes in sick time, dress policy, and phone use by village employees. Arcanum Council’s Personnel Committee has been discussing updates and revisions to the employee manual, based on recommendations from an outside consultant, Wendy Schimmoeller of Clemans, Nelson, & Associates of Dublin, Ohio. The village has thus far paid approximately $8,000 for the firm to review the employee manual and help revise it to make it conform to Ohio Revised Code and align with communities similar to Arcanum.
Arcanum Utilities Superintendent Keir Smith largely spoke on behalf of those employees who attended the meeting.
“I’ve worked here almost 30 years,” he said, noting he had more concern for the effect of revised rules on newer or future employees. “When I started here, you came to Arcanum to work because you wanted to work in Arcanum, you were close to home, you had great benefits. Now as I work through my career, I’m down to 25 percent of my sick leave, I’ve been on 1,200 hours forever. And I lose it every pay period, but it’s there if I need it.”
“I just want [council] to understand that they have the choice in making some of these decisions,” he added. “They’re not because you have to get rid of somebody’s sick leave, or that you have to change these things.”
Smith pointed out how the village’s employees often do things they are not required to do, but do so out of concern for their community and getting the job done correctly.
“There’s things we don’t have to do, that we choose to do, that makes our day harder,” he said. “That’s the morale level you have to keep with employees, because I guarantee, you do good things for people, and they’ll do 10 times over for you.”
Councilwoman Vanessa Delk, who chairs the Personnel Committee, sought to assure the employees that nothing has been finalized, only discussed, and that the committee welcomed the employees to attend the meetings.
“I think it’s important to hear your input,” she said. “There might be some logistical things that we don’t understand because we don’t do your job.”
Delk said the committee’s original completion date for the assignment was October 1, but said it isn’t realistic.
“We have one more committee meeting to complete, and then we’re going to do work sessions, because I think it’s important to get all six members of council’s input on every single change,” she said. “No changes are in stone.”
The committee next meets at 6 p.m. September 19. Council’s next regular session is September 26 at 7 p.m.
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