Chesterton Tribune



Council amends Personnel Policy to correct personal leave day discrepancy

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The Chesterton Town Council has addressed the disparity in a benefit which had been provided to career-firefighters but not to the towns other municipal employees: four additional paid days off per year.

In November, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg submitted to the council a letter signed by himself and the towns other department heads, alerting the council to general unhappiness among their employees that the CFDs career-firefighters enjoy four more paid personal-leave days per year than they do.

The councils solution: to amend the Personnel Policy Handbook, which had stated that municipal employees are entitled to two paid personal leave days every year. At their meeting Monday night, members voted unanimously to amend the handbook to state that all employees are now entitled to 48 paid personal leave hours every year.

Another discrepancy addressed by the amendment: police officers and firefighters are entitled to a full six months of paid major medical leave, equivalent to 1,040 hours. All other municipal employees, under the old Personnel Policy Handbook, were permitted only 960, due to a miscalculation. The amendment approved on Monday corrects that disparity and grants all municipal employees the full 1,040 hours.

As Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann noted about the handbook, Its not an aesthetic document. The personal policy manual will always be looked at.

Westchester-Liberty Trail

In other business, Town Engineer Mark ODell informed members that the incoming council should be prepared in 2020 to make available $221,094 in CEDIT moneys as the match for an 80/20 federal grant--approved earlier this year by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission--for Phase III of the Westchester-Liberty Trail.

The $1.4-million Phase III will continue the eight-foot sidewalk along the north side of 1100N from South Fifth Street to 100E, with a spur crossing 1100N, entering the Tamarack subdivision by way of a corridor owned by the Park Department, and then debouching onto 100E at Rail Road.

The $221,094 match will pay for 20 percent of necessary right-of-way acquisition and 100 percent of engineering, while the federal portion of the grant will pay for trail construction itself.

2020 Salary Ordinance

2019 Ordinance Amended

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to adopt the 2020 Salary Ordinance, which provides for a 2-percent raise for all full-time municipal employees.

They also voted unanimously to amend the 2019 Salary Ordinance, after it was discovered that it inadvertently omitted two positions: Police Commission member and Park Board member. We need to add those positions so those members can be paid, Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela said.

New CFD Engine

Fire Chief John Jarka reported that the CFDs new engine, currently under construction, should be ready for a final inspection Jan. 6-7.

In related business, members unanimously approved a 2.04-percent, seven-year loan for the engine offered by First State Bank of Porter.

ALS Proposal

While members continue to review a proposal submitted earlier this month by Jarka for the establishment by the CFD of an advanced life support (ALS) ambulance service, Jarka reported that three different billing companies have expressed an interest in the venture. A key component of the success of a CFD-operated ALS service would be recouping the cost of treatment and transport and making it a self-funding function of the department.


Posted 12/26/2019




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