Beeville City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday evening to set a new comp time policy that is more closely aligned with that of state department heads.
The new policy is recommended by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act.
The policy states that “exempt” employees, salaried employees who are not eligible for overtime pay, will be allowed to take time off “to offset additional hours required, but no formal accumulation of hours will be recorded in the payroll system. Exempt employees will be required to request time off in advance from their direct supervisor. Every effort will be made to honor time off requests based on workloads and departmental needs.”
The issue was raised at the council’s Nov. 9 meeting by City Finance Director Deborah Ballí, who said the city had accumulated $65,000 in unpaid liability through the previous policy.
That policy gave department heads 1.5 hours of credit for each hour worked past 40 hours a week.
Ballí said that amounts to overtime and exempt employees are not normally allowed to receive overtime pay.
Also, there was no limit in place on the amount of comp time a department head could accumulate.
Mayor Santiago “Jimbo” Martinez, an exempt employee for the State of Texas, asked City Manager Tom Ginter if the proposed policy was the same as that used by the state and Ginter said it was.
Only three of the five council members were there to vote on the issue, Martinez, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Scotten and Councilman David Carabajal.
The three council members in attendance voted unanimously to approve the new policy.
Council members had voted at the Nov. 9 meeting to pay department heads their outstanding comp time when the city has the money.
Council members also got good news from members of a city employee committee that had studied health insurance proposals.
Brannon Brooke, a representative of TCOR, said the best bid for employee health insurance came from Aetna Blue at a cost of $489.42 an employee.
The city picks up the entire cost of employee health care.
Brooke said the bid would save the city $56,628 compared to what it is currently paying for employee health insurance.
In other business, the council voted to:
— Accept a report from Isabel Ramirez of the Bee County Chamber of Commerce on recent and future tourism activities.
— Approve street closing requests for Dec. 4 for Beeville Main Street Program Christmas activities downtown.
— Purchase a used tractor-trailer rig for the street department at a cost of $82,500.
— Schedule a public hearing for 6 p.m. on Dec. 14 at City Hall to hear comments on proposed fees for garage sale permits, higher septic tank dumping charges and a fee for use of the softball field at Veterans Memorial Park.