CHEROKEE — Full-time employees in Cherokee, beginning in January, won’t be reimbursed for unused vacation time.
It’s been the town’s practice in the past to buy vacation time from employees not taking off the days.
Councilwoman Thelma Crawford proposed a resolution Tuesday to stop paying for vacation time. The resolution passed 5-1, with councilman Paul Norman voting against the measure.
“I’ve been against this practice all along,” Crawford said. “I can’t see paying people for not accepting a privilege that’s earned on their job.”
She added employees, in some cases, have been paid for all four weeks of earned vacation time.
“It’s going to help us save money next year because paying out a big sum of money in December just kills our budget come January,” Crawford said. “We’re much better able to absorb the expense of covering for people on vacation throughout the year.”
Cherokee has four full-time employees to whom the new mandate will apply.
The council’s chairman pro tem, Patricia Mason, said she also has long wanted the town to stop buying vacation time from employees.
“With people waiting until the end of the year and then wanting to get paid, it hurts us financially to where we’re in a hole that takes a long time to dig out of,” Mason said. “It’s not easy trying to get out of that kind of financial mess and this will help prevent it.”
In other business, the council voted to no longer allow the public to reserve the Town Hall auditorium for functions.
Crawford said allowing groups to use the building has not worked well and resulted in confusion for the public and town officials.
“We’re only conducting town business out of Town Hall from now on,” she said. “We’ve worked hard to fix up that building, and we need to keep down the chaos and limit problems.”
The council also unanimously passed a resolution calling for all new employees to be placed on a 90-day probation program during which time they won’t receive benefits.
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.