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October 27, 2021

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Council reviewing police department vacation issues

Covid-19 and several other issues causing scheduling challenges

Taking no action, Bluffton council reviewed scheduling issues in its police department during Monday’s council meeting.

The situation, reported by the council personnel and finance committee, which met on Aug. 5, specifically concerns vacation time.

The department has challenges due to several events, including a pregnancy and two surgeries involving officers.

Combined with that, Police Chief Ryan Burkholder anticipates problems scheduling vacations due to the continuous full-time department work during the covid-10 period that began in March.

One solution allows officers to “buy back” a vacation period and carry a vacation period into next year. The committee’s concern is the cost of the proposal.

Discussion also centered on whether this exception to the recently-adopted village personnel policy would apply to all employees or only police officers.

The joint committee consensus, reported on Monday, is that that would only apply to the police department, with an explanation that other department employees were allowed considerable paid time away from work during the “lockdown” period of the covid-19.

Council may bring a proposal, with some conditions, to the Aug 24 meeting.  Council wants a clearer idea of the financial impacts. Council also may consider that any carryover vacation should be taken within the first three months of 2021 to avoid later scheduling problems. 

Minutes from the personnel and finance meeting are attached below -