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Fire and Rescue PTO Unchanged Following Vote

12 December 2019 Winchester Frederick County News

December 12, 2019

WINCHESTER – The City Council of Winchester approved a resolution to change the way paid time off is calculated for City employees, but distinctly did not include Fire and Rescue Department staff in the change.

The plan to change parts of the City’s Comprehensive Employee Management System was first introduced in October. Since the proposed changes were introduced, Winchester Fire and Rescue Department members have brought up concerns about them. Specifically, the Department took issue with an alteration in the way paid time off would be computed. Under the new proposal, Fire and Rescue workers that typically work close to 2,500 hour annually would accrue the same amount of paid leave as other city staff members. A typical work rate for a city employee is just under 2,100 hours annually.

Fire Chief William Garrett appeared in front of the Council on Nov. 12 to express the Department’s view on a potential change in accrued vacation time. He claimed that it would be better for the Council and Winchester-at-large if they considered other options for changing CEMS.

The City Council was presented three options for a possible CEMS change. City Manager Eden Freeman explained to the Council before the briefing that they would have to choose one of the options that night in order to have the system set up for the upcoming new year. Option one was the fully new system that was originally presented in October. Option two would involve no changes to the city’s paid leave program, but would update military and FMLA verbiage. Option three involved changing city staff over to the new PTO plan except for the Fire and Rescue Department.

Each Council member agreed that option three presented the best of both worlds, and that more information was necessary before they could consider switching the Fire and Rescue Department to the new plan as well. The resolution was adopted with option three unanimously.


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