Riverside County supervisors consider reform of county severance pay policy

Cutting severance pay and other ``awards'' to employees will be considered

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Cutting severance pay and other ``awards'' to  employees working in county government will be on the Board of Supervisors' agenda Tuesday. 

   Riverside County Supervisors Kevin Jeffries and Jeff Stone will be asking their colleagues to support initiating a study of how the county can reduce retirement, vacation time and severance costs by adopting private sector policies and other methods. 

   The supervisors' proposal is titled ``Require Every Department to Account for Cumulative Time,'' or REDACT.

   ``In recent instances, (the county) has paid out large sums of money to some persons who have retired, been dismissed, or left county employment for various reasons,'' Jeffries and Stone wrote in documents posted to the board's policy agenda. 

   According to the supervisors, ``large payouts'' have been the result of union contracts or county resolutions intended to compensate employees for ``extra time worked.'' Unused vacation time and sick days can be redeemed for cash when an employee parts from county service. 

   ``In many cases, these awards have been for thousands of accumulated hours of `annual leave,' amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars,'' Jeffries and Stone said. 

   They emphasized the need for increased accountability in tracking and documenting employees' accrued leave time so that there are no irregularities and every hour is ``verified, monitored and tracked.''

   The issue of accrued vacation and sick time compensation came under close scrutiny two years ago when the board approved a four-year memorandum of understanding with the Deputy District Attorneys' Association.

   Under the terms of that deal, county prosecutors are permitted to amass 2,080 hours of vacation time during their careers and can cash in 40 hours of unused time every quarter. The balance would be paid when a DDA retires or otherwise leaves the agency. 

   In exchange, the DDAA acquiesced to members paying more toward their own pensions.

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