Pataskala council members on Monday approved resolutions allowing the city to implement memorandums of understanding regarding paid administrative leave for COVID-19.
In late September, Pataskala police and city administration began discussing policies and responses if the current rise in COVID-19 cases sparked by the Delta variant were to impact city worker staffing levels in the coming weeks.
City Administrator Tim Hickin during the Sept. 20 Pataskala City Council meeting said the police department initiated discussions about employees possibly having to “take a significant amount of time, whether they’re vaccinated or not, for exposure, or (for) contracting the COVID-D variant” during the pandemic. Hickin noted other administrators have discussed the same issue.
On Monday, the council approved resolutions allowing the mayor, city administrator and finance director to execute a memorandum of understanding allowing bargaining unit employees to apply for and be granted paid administrative leave due to COVID-19.
“In particular, the City of Pataskala will offer either the greater of 80 hours minus whatever the employee used in 2020 or 40 hours,” a resolution stated. “This calculation will be retroactive to the first pay period in 2021 not January 1 2021…”
During the Sept. 20 meeting, administrators expressed concern about several new police officers who didn’t have any time built up and would immediately have to take no pay in the case of having to quarantine. Police Chief Bruce Brooks acknowledged several simultaneous absences in the department due to COVID-19 would “gut (their) department.”
There was no further discussion of the memorandums of understanding at the Monday council meeting. The city was authorized to enter into memorandums of understanding with the Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Labor Council, Inc.; Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association; and United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union.