Fired township employees to collect vacation, sick leave pay

Fired township employees to collect vacation, sick leave pay

URBANA — Two former deputy assessors in Cunningham Township will be paid the full amount they sought in vacation and sick leave pay after having been fired by the new township assessor, Wayne Williams.

Kim Hooper, a former deputy assessor, will be paid $20,318.59, and Jamie Willard, the former deputy assessor, will be paid $12,049.72.

The two were fired on Jan. 2, the first full day that Williams was in office. Last week they charged that Williams was shortchanging them of the money they were owed.

"We haven't received the check but that's what we hear," Hooper said Tuesday morning.

Williams asserted, however, that the payment was a "golden parachute" drawn up in the last days of the administration of his predecessor.

"The previous Township Assessor, Dan Stebbins, created a personnel policy, signed by employees on December 18, 2017, that provided a 'golden parachute' of sorts for employees leaving the township," Williams said. "His employees accumulated vacation and sick time with no caps and were owed all vacation and sick for 2018 at the start of the year. I am changing this moving forward, but was beholden to the policies of the last administration.

"Also, the separated employees agreed in writing to an initial payout amount and then challenged the agreed upon amounts once the checks were in the mail. We now have an agreement and the issue is resolved."

But Hooper said that the assessor's office had a verbal personnel policy "from the time Dan took office" eight years ago.

"We knew what we could do and what we couldn't do. Dan put it in writing right before he left," she said. "I don't know what a 'golden parachute' is. What it is is a personnel policy. It told us how many vacation days and sick days that we got."

Hooper said a written personnel policy is not required in offices with fewer than five employees.

But she said she and Willard gave Stebbins "personnel policy ideas. I would type something up and send it to him. But it wasn't required so it was all up to him."

Stebbins is now the supervisor of assessments in Douglas County.

Danielle Chynoweth, the township supervisor, said that the assessor and supervisor's offices have had different personnel policies but will operate under unified guidelines now.

"We are adopting a single personnel policy that fixes this payout problem on the assessor's side, as well as better delineate procedures for discipline and termination," said Chynoweth. "We will also share human resource support through our contract with Vacellia Clark, former personnel director for the city of Urbana."

Hooper said Tuesday that the dispute over back pay wouldn't have surfaced if she and Willard hadn't been fired by Williams.

"Wayne I think is upset because he had to pay out our benefits and it affects his budget. But in my opinion, he had no reason to have to pay out our benefits. He had no reason to come in and fire us like he did. We had done nothing wrong," she said. "As far as his statement about a golden parachute, he can say what he wants to say but I think that's just his irritation and hopefully his embarrassment coming out about how he handled the whole situation."

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whatithink wrote on January 23, 2018 at 1:01 pm

Soem people are lucky to have a $20,000 a year salary total!  Clearly someone has been getting paid way too much to earn that much in just sick pay and vacation!  Almost as ridiculous as Williams $60,000 yearly salary!  In many places, township assessors don't even exist!  Just another example of Illinois corruption and over abundance of un-needed civil service jobs.      

Annotator wrote on January 23, 2018 at 3:01 pm

"His employees accumulated vacation and sick time with no caps and were owed all vacation and sick for 2018 at the start of the year. I am changing this moving forward, but was beholden to the policies of the last administration."

Note that sick and vacationtime  is accumulated over the length of employment.  The two emplyees have been employed for at least eight years.  That 'golden parachute' wasn't great over a period of eight years.  Apparently Mr. Williams was trying to renege on his predecessor's employment policy.  Mr. Stebbins was setting things 'right' after he knew he was leaving the position, so that his employees would be given the benefits they were due for their 'verbal' terms of employment, in writing.

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