Robert Townsend spoke at the July 23rd Workshop relating to providing a memorial for Kenny Hutcherson who recently passed away due to his long illness with Cancer. Although Kenny Hutcherson was a very nice man and he did some backhoe work for us and for our neighbors, I have a problem with his expectation to be paid for over two years for work he was unable to perform. So of course I told Mr. Townsend in no uncertain terms that Kenny Hutcherson already received over $100,000 in pay for not working which was a memorial in itself. This promulgated looks of I want to kill you from Mr. Strong and Mr. Natteal, but frankly I am tired of those who feel they are better than the rest of us and deserve more because of the color of their skin.
You will recall that Pam stated Ms. Tebo allowed for Kenny Hutcherson’s continual compensation while he was unable to work by falsifying and signing and completing his timesheets weekly. Ms. Tebo never asked permission or discussed this with the Council even though we know the money paid him could have been as high as $150,000.
Under the FMLA, you are entitled to time away from your workplace for certain health-related situations. Although you are not entitled to receive your pay during this time of absence, your job is protected and health insurance benefits must generally continue. Under the FMLA, you are entitled to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a twelve-month period for:
The birth of a child and to care for a newborn child under one year of age;
Caring for a newly adopted child or newly placed foster child during the first year of adoption or placement
Providing care to your spouse, child, or a parent when any of them have a serious health condition; or
A serious health condition that makes you unable to perform your job.
There are also rights under the FMLA to take unpaid medical leave to care for a service member that is a spouse, child, or parent and who has a qualifying condition.
This is brought up because Pam advised Joe that they are able to pay Kenny by reason that it is allowed in the personnel manual, which they must have referred to.
Under 2. page -28- Duration of leave – It states Annual Leave shall be limited to thirty (30) consecutive calendar days unless approved in ADVANCE by the Town Manager.
Although Pam stated Stacy Tebo signed off on the leave unfortunately the Town is still in trouble because of the Florida Medical Leave Act FMLA by reason that you will note, if one is unable to work because of an illness they receive medical insurance but are not entitled to pay. After 12 weeks their job could not be left open and the employee would have to find other means.
What the White Springs manual does is provide for 30 days pay which assists under the law to provide some pay during the employees absence and inability to work for the 12 weeks granted under the law. Unfortunately,for the legal geniuses at Town Hall and on the Council, the FMLA law trumps the manual. It was never intended for someone to have a critical illness and not go under Medicare disability and medicaid but to be paid for two years including medical insurance.
A prudent individual would not anticipate being paid for two years nor would a prudent manager feel that it would be correct to pay someone for not working. I am uncertain whether the citizens would appreciate someone being paid for over two years with their money who is unable to work. No one gets those types of benefits.
THIS IS THE LAW WHITE SPRINGS – CHECK FMLA
There is no Florida law that requires private sector employers to provide employees sick leave, paid or unpaid, although many employers do grant it as a popular employee benefit.
It is important to remember, however, that if sick leave is promised, an employer may create a legal obligation to grant it. Employers should regularly review statements made in handbooks or elsewhere to ensure that they accurately reflect current policies. If changes are necessary, the policy should be revised and employees notified of the changes.
In Kenneth Hutcherson’s packet, there is a copy of something which appears to be a contract regarding “Employee Sick Leave” during the Time Robert Townsend was manager and Todd Kennon was the attorney for White Springs.
At the time, Kenny Hutcherson had a pay rate of $18.45 an hour and he supposedly had sick leave of 2,326 hours in January of 2008. At that time, he was allowed by the Town Attorney and Townsend 1/2 of the hours in pay. There was no prior contract and this was considered a settlement of some sort so he no longer had the 1,263 hours which he was not paid for, nor were there provisions in the Manual for him to have been paid this money in the first place. No one ever checked if he was working and what he was doing but Townsend like Tebo love to spend your money and that was what was done.
So therefore, I believe we as citizens have done enough. When we initially sent this to the Commission on Ethics, they stated because of the Rudd Amendment, that they could not be involved in management decisions of a municipality. Thus, nothing was done. But you and I know that this was kept from the Town Council and if it wasn’t the Council also was complicit in giving a benefit to someone of which no one else receives those types of benefits. Favoritism is something prevalent in White Springs.
Karin for the blog