Pinedale reviews employee guide

Revised policy and handbook tabled for further review

It’s a lot to digest. So

much, in fact, members of the Pinedale Town

Council decided to table any actions on a proposed

employee guide that includes job descriptions,

wage scales and evaluation forms

for the town’s employees.

The Pinedale Town Council reviewed a

proposed 81-page document at a work session

during the March 11 council meeting.

Mayor Matt Murdock and council members

Dean Loftus, Tyler Swafford and John Paravicini

were in attendance. One seat on the

council remains vacant following the Feb. 25

resignation of council member Jim Brost.

Updating the current 50-page document

that has been on the books since 2014 was

listed as one of the council’s priorities during

recent work sessions.

Included in the document is an employee

review. Town Clerk Maureen Rudnick said

an employee’s pay is not based on the review.

However, a minimum score is required on the

review to qualify an employee to move up a

step in the pay scale.

Also addressed is the town’s ban on smoking.

The town has always prohibited smoking

in buildings, vehicles and equipment owned

by the town. However, with new vices comes

the question if vaping devices should also be

banned. Then what about chewing tobacco?

Loftus asked if the point of the policy is to

protect the public and coworkers from second-

hand smoke, then do vaping and chewing

tobacco need to be included. The town’s

ordinance prohibits the “sale of any device

that can distribute nicotine” to anyone under

18, and one suggestion was that the language

in the employee handbook should mirror the

language in the ordinance.

The policy mandates pre-employment

drug testing for all applicants. There is also

a mandatory drug test following an accident

and random testing selected by a computerbased

random number generator.

Among other changes is a reduction of

paid maternity or paternity leave from the

current 20 days to a proposed 10 days.

A section prohibits an employee from accruing

more than 384 hours, or 48 days, of

sick leave. That has been included in the most

recent policy but was not always the case.

Murdock said that was a change from the past

when one employee had accumulated more

than 1,000 hours. The policy enables an employee

to voluntarily donate up to 40 hours

to a coworker who may have expended sick

leave due to an extended illness.

Additional paid holidays were added to the

policy. In addition to New Year’s Day, Martin

Luther King Day, President’s Day, Memorial

Day, Independence Day, Labor Day,

Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and the day after

Thanksgiving and Christmas, Good Friday was

added to the proposed policy.

The policy dictates employees, who have

worked a minimum of 90 days and up to five

years, can earn one vacation day, or eight hours

of paid vacation leave, every month. For employees

with the town six to 10 years, that increases

to 10 hours a month. Employees with

the town 11 to 15 years receive 12 hours of

vacation a month and that caps out at 16 hours

for any employees with the town more than 16

years. Those benefits mirror the current policy.

Employees who leave, or are “separated”

from the town’s employment, are eligible to

receive unused vacation pay, but not unused

sick leave.

The policy also establishes minimum and

maximum salaries for all positions, even some

that are not on the books. Rudnick said the positions

were included in case the community

grows and those positions are needed in the


Rudnick said she came up with the salary

ranges after calling agencies, such as similarsized

communities, looking at cost-of-living

comparisons and also considering the ability

to pay and the available labor pool.

“Ideally, these should be reviewed annually,”

Rudnick said. She said the town wants

to be competitive in hiring quality employees.

The only comment from the public was by

Lora Hittle, representing the Women’s Advocacy

Group. She asked that the Equal Opportunity

and Harassment Policy include protections

for gender and gender preferences.

The policy currently states, “We prohibit

unlawful discrimination against applicants or

employees on the basis of age, race, sex, color,

religion, national origin, disability, or any other

status protected by applicable state or local


Murdock said there has been some discussion

on that.

The proposed policy, including salary

ranges and job descriptions, is posted on the

town’s website as part of the March 11 council


Rudnick said it is just a starting point and

recommendations can be made for future


The policy will also be on the March 25

council agenda.

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