2014-12-12 / Community

Double time approved for town workers

Arundel employees got a holiday bonus Monday when the board of selectmen voted unanimously to pay double time to anyone who works for the town on Christmas or Thanksgiving Day.

According to Public Works Director Roger Taschereau, the new policy was not created from whole cloth. Double time was the standard offer for many years on those two particular days, he said, as opposed to the time and a half paid on other holidays. However, at some point in the recent past, the two double time days “disappeared” from the holiday pay section of the town’s personnel policy, a fact noticed this year, when several members of the road crew logged eight hours on Thanksgiving Day.

Taschereau provided the board with a prior copy of the policy, which had the double time provision, which was not part of the current version, until added back in Monday night.

Payment at twice an employee’s normal hourly rate also was part of the employees’ union contract, until the union was dissolved three years ago, said Taschereau.

“I went through the history of changes, and could not find anywhere where that change was officially made,” said Town Manager Todd Shea, noting the policy was “tweaked” when he first arrived on the job in 2011, but he did not recall excising the doubletime provision as one of the amendments made at that time.

“It wasn’t in the revision I made, and it wasn’t in the previous version, so we were unable to determine exactly when it disappeared,” he said.

Of course, the new policy might be considered a victory in principle only.

“The problem is, for what you’re getting killed on taxes, you’re better off to stay home and eat with your family,” said Taschereau.

Although in practice the new policy will affect primarily the road crew, should there be a snowstorm on either major holiday, it applies to any town employee required to work on Christmas or Thanksgiving.

Arundel has 15 fulltime employees, with nearly 100 on the payroll when counting part-time workers, recreation department helpers, per diem rescue attendants and on call firefighters.

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