By Teresa Barbian
It was a packed room for the special council meeting called by the city of Anson on Thursday, April 28, 2016. The meeting was called to order by Mayor Mike Herndon and an opening prayer was led by Keith Gilbert. The first item on the agenda was to discuss and take action on the appeal of a complaint/grievance regarding certain work place conditions filed by Seth Morris as set out in the Anson Employee Policy Manual. This grievance was for how the city computes overtime. According to attorney Chad Cowan, the city of Anson follows the Fair Labor Standards Act when computing overtime. According to the city’s employee policy manual, overtime is based on actual hours worked and is computed based on a 40 hour work week, not by individual day. The policy manual also states, “All hours not worked but paid (vacation, sick, military, jury, funeral, and injury leave) will not be counted toward overtime eligibility. An employee must be physically at work more than forty hours per week to receive overtime.” Council member Jeannie Free stated that the city had been paying overtime based on the day rather than the week for quite a number of years. The city will calculate overtime pay based on what the policy manual states. It was brought up that the council could change the overtime calculation to a daily basis, if the council members voted to do so. However, the overtime calculations would need to be an agenda item for the council to discuss and take action on.
The next agenda item was to discuss and take action on the appeal of a complaint/grievance regarding certain workplace conditions filed by J.P. Rodriguez as set out in the Anson Employee Policy Manual. This complaint was regarding being short handed at the city barn and the lack of proper tools in order to perform their job requirements. The city has corrected the understaffing issue. As for the issue with the tools, Mayor Herndon stated, “I think this is just a communication issue, but regardless of what it is, we will correct it.” Supervisors need to take a list of tools needed to the City Manager and discuss the need for the tools. Purchase orders need to be filled out and turned into the City Manager’s office.
The next agenda item was to discuss and take action on the appeal of a complaint/grievance regarding certain workplace conditions filed by Steve Gunter as set out in the Anson Employee Policy Manual. This complaint/grievance was in regard to not being able to use vacation/sick time because they were shorthanded. The city has hired additional employees so this issue has been corrected. This complaint/grievance was also in regards to the health insurance offered by the city. Due to further information stated by Mr. Gunter in the meeting, this issue was tabled again so that the city could investigate and verify Mr. Gunter’s claim that he was overcharged for health insurance premiums. This complaint/grievance was also in regards to the water treatment plant not having renovations completed. A room that was being built has not been completed yet. It was the Mayor’s understanding that city employees were building this room. Since the city barn has been understaffed, there has not been any personnel available to complete the project. The renovations will be completed when city employees find time to complete it.
The council then convened into an almost four hour executive session in accordance with the Texas Government Code 551.074, Personnel Matters, to deliberate the evaluation, duties, or discipline of a public officer or employee (City Manager). When the meeting was opened back to the public, the following occurred. As read by Mayor Pro Tem Keith Gilbert, “I move that the City Council direct the City Manager to do the following. Number one: Set up a hierarchy of city departments and supervisors organizational chart within 30 days. Number two: Have weekly staff meetings with all supervisors beginning next week. Number three: Create job descriptions for all employees within 30 days and provide these items back to the council at these times.” Keith Gilbert motioned to accept and was seconded by Evelyn Edwards. The Mayor then did a roll call for each council member; Evelyn Edwards-For, Angela Ramirez-Against, Keith Gilbert-For, Mike Herndon-For, Larry White-For, and Jeannie Free-Against. The motioned passed by a vote of 4-2. When Council Member Angela Ramirez voiced her “nay” vote, she stated, “I’m done, I am resigning my seat right now.” No further information on what led to her resignation was obtained. The meeting was then adjourned.