Retiring council members clarify city administrator’s benefits, authorize changes
Dayton City Council held a special meeting early in the morning of Dec. 31. This was the final meeting for three retiring members of the council including the mayor. The meeting included a closed session for the council, an amendment consideration to the city administrator’s contract and a request for final payment to Hennepin County for the construction of Goose Lake Road.
The closed session was held so the council could receive a report on an investigation regarding possible violation of data privacy laws. No further information was provided nor was any action taken on this issue at the start of the open meeting portion.
Next, the council was asked to also consider an amendment to City Administrator Samantha Orduno’s contract in terms of vacation accrual and sick leave payout.
Orduno said she doesn’t believe city administrators’ vacation and sick pay are typically discussed publicly but she chose to do so for transparency.
She was seeking clarification of an amendment already in her contract which allowed for continual vacation accrual and asked that the council consider providing her a 50 percent payout of sick time which would put her sick payout in line with most of the other city employees. Currently, Orduno accrues 5 weeks of vacation time per year.
In April 2012 the council approved a resolution capping employees’ vacation accrual to the equivalent of two years of eligible vacation time. According to Orduno as well as the city attorney, contract employees were not meant to be included in the cap policy.
Tim McNeil, who was serving as a council member at the time until he would become mayor Jan. 7, suggested tabling the consideration to a regularly scheduled meeting.
“I felt that there was no need to do it at that specific time and that by doing it as part of a special meeting we were needlessly casting suspicion on the request as well as making the council in general, appear less professional,” said McNeil.
Orduno responded stating she felt it made sense to get clarification on her contract with that particular council since those were the individuals with which she negotiated the contract.
Mayor Doug Anderson and councilors Scott Hoke and Phil Forseth voted in favor of the amendment to provide Orduno with 50 percent payout for sick time and no limit on her vacation accrual.
McNeil voted against the motion.
“It was contrary to the action we just took six months earlier,” he said believing Orduno’s contract should follow the April 2012 vacation cap policy. “It is outside how we treat other employees, it is contrary to private sector practices and represents an amount that I felt was excessive.”
Further, the council authorized final payment to Hennepin County for the construction of Goose Lake Road. The city will then bill contractor Tom Dehn, of MTD Properties for a reimbursement of $42,000. Orduno said the Goose Lake Road project stems from a modifications that were made to accommodate Dehn’s Nature’s Crossing development.
Council member Rick Shermer was unable to attend due to out of town commitments planned prior to the special meeting being called.
Contact Mindy Mateuszczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org