New London — The city is taking a new approach to how it compensates non-union employees who work beyond a regular workweek, with the goal of saving thousands of dollars.
Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio issued an executive order Monday morning replacing compensatory pay with flex time. Non-union workers, such as department heads, will now be compensated for working extra hours by taking time off rather than being paid for the hours.
The order also limits reimbursements for training at out-of-state locations. Any worker who wants to attend a training session out of state will pay for travel and housing costs. If training is necessary to maintain certifications, the mayor may approve reimbursements.
"We are doing everything we can to maximize revenues and decrease expenditures,'' Finizio said Monday, as he signed the seventh executive order of his administration.
Flex time for non-union workers will be granted at the discretion of the mayor and the chief administrative officer and must be used within a pay period, Finizio said.
"The use of flex time will create no payments to employees beyond their normal salary,'' the two-page document says. "All comp time must be used by the end of the fiscal year."
The change was brought about, in part, because of a large amount of overtime accumulated by Police Chief Margaret Ackley since she became chief in 2009. One of the first things she did after taking over was to cut overtime for the rank-and-file, saving the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. But in the last fiscal year, which ended June 30, Ackley received about $80,000 in compensatory pay.
Chief Executive Officer Jane Glover said the arrangement to pay the police chief for the accumulated comp time was made with the previous administration.
"Under this new system, we will not create any extra payments to workers,'' Finizio said.
Ackley could not be reached to comment.
Police Union President Todd Lynch said the union was surprised when it learned the chief was being paid around $80,000 for work beyond her normal hours.
"This chief has pledged transparency and public trust as a model, yet it appears that applied to everyone but herself,'' Lynch said Monday. "As far as public safety, the union and, I think, the community would rather use that type of money to put on extra patrol forces within the city rather than paying for an administrator in the building."
The executive order does not affect union workers, who are covered by collective bargaining agreements.
Finizio said Monday that the savings in implementing flex time could save thousands, but he did not know exact numbers. Finance Director Jeffrey Smith could not be reached to comment.