Galloway Township will pay out $211,356.71 in unused vacation time to 14 employees who are leaving the township.
The payout was unanimously approved by council at its reorganization meeting on Wednesday night, Jan. 2, but only after Councilman Jim McElwee raised concerns about the amount being paid out.
McElwee proposed tabling the resolution, along with another resolution that would pay out about $60,000 to departing employees in managerial positions. The resolution concerning managerial positions was tabled and will go before the labor counsel. The other resolution involved unionized employees.
“The payments (in the unionized contract) are compliant with township policy and are directly related to the layoffs,” Township Manager Arch Liston told McElwee when he objected.
McElwee withdrew his request to have that resolution tabled. The other resolution will go before William Blaney, who was appointed labor counsel Wednesday night.
“He will review it for legalities and he’ll have recommendations that he makes,” Solicitor Michael Fitzgerald said.
An ordinance passed in 1991 allows for an employee to collect 100 percent of all sick leave accumulated before Dec. 31 of that year. All unused sick time accumulated after that date can be collected at a rate of 50 percent, up to $10,000.
Employees hired after May 1, 1991 and are employed by Galloway for 10 years or more, who then resign or take a Deferred Retirement are entitled to 50 percent of all accumulated sick leave, up to $10,000.
According to the State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, Inc. Mainland Local #77 Rank and File Superior Officers contracts, employees may actively work until the date of separation and collect a lump sum payment for all comp time and vacation time collected until that date.
An employee who has 400 hours or more of accrued sick leave is also entitled to their hourly pay rate for 50 percent of accumulated sick leave for all hours over the 400, up to $25,000.
According to the resolution, payments for the departing employees will be determined by the Chief Financial Officer on a case-by-case basis. This includes the possibility of an employee receiving all their money at once, if requested one year before their retirement.
Six of the employees included in this resolution will receive over $10,000, and only one will receive less than $1,000.
The resolution includes the five senior police officers who retired in order to save junior officers from being laid off; one Planning/Zoning employee; seven Public Works employees; and one Senior Services employee.
Liston initially mentioned the possibility of laying off employees when he was first hired. The township had furloughed employees each of the previous two years.
Every employee received a notice of possible lay off in September. Ultimately, 14 unionized employees are leaving the township. The number of employees leaving the township in managerial positions was unclear.
“For the first time, Galloway Township has a budget that’s not a phony budget,” Mayor Don Purdy said in his State of the Township Address Wednesday night. “The Manager, the CFO, the Police Chief and the Public Works Director came together and put real numbers together. When you say only a few people lost their jobs, those people have lives. I don’t speak any less of those people who did lose their jobs. We make decisions, and we have to live by those decisions.”