Local Government

City moves forward on sick-time buyback program

Mayor Kyle Moore
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 13, 2017 10:15 pm

QUINCY -- Sick-time buyback is estimated to cost the city of Quincy $648,500 this fiscal year, according to an ordinance that would allocate funds for it.

The ordinance, which was recommended by the Personnel Committee on Monday, would use $563,850 from the unbudgeted general fund balance, as well as funds from the water fund, sewer fund and self-insurance fund.

City budget figures show that city employees have a sick-time bank of $1.86 million.

The city will be able buy down accrued sick days from firefighters and reduce them from up to 90 days to 45 days. The buyback program is allowed by a provision in the new three-year labor contract between the city and firefighters represented by Quincy Firefighters Local 63.

It would also look to buy down sick days from 60 days to 40 days for nonunion employees and those represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 822.

Mayor Kyle Moore believes the program will save the city money in the long run because they are bought back at a lower wage than at retirement.

"We've been penalized by (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund) for nonunion employees who received a big payout at the end of their service to our city because they call that a pay bump or pension spike," Moore said.

He believes the buyback costs will also be reduced in the future after the initial buyout.SClBThe Personnel Committee also agreed to a comp-time buyback at the Fire Department, which will cost $125,000. The city has been able to buy comp time from firefighters since its previous three-year contract was adopted in 2014.

The ordinance is expected to be introduced to the City Council next week.

The committee also reviewed proposals for the employee health clinic. The city is in the final year of a three-year contract with Quincy Medical Group for the clinic.

The city requested proposals for a three-year period. Four proposals were submitted. One was eliminated because it would have required the city to provide a building and pay for utilities, and another was cut because of additional expenses for labs, immunizations and drug testing.

The names of the firms were not released.

The committee recommended "Proposal B," which would cost $248,000 in the first year, $272,000 in the second year and $296,000 in the final year.

Another proposal, "Proposal A," called for a $125,000 fee each year, but the city presentation estimated that it would cost an additional $203,000 over the life of the contract in primary and preventive care costs.

Proposal B would include access to any primary and preventive care provider in the facility, minor acute procedures, employee physicals, common immunizations, nine common lab services, three free dietitian services consultations annually, six free physical therapy consults annually, and employee physicals.

That current agreement with Quincy Medical Group calls for the group to received $120,000 annually to provide city employees access to all physicians in the company's outpatient care center, three medical doctors and other medical support staff. Flu shots, certain immunizations and tests were included, as were required physicals for police and fire personnel.

The clinic is also open to employee family members on the city's health care plan.

City figures show there were 2,612 visits to the clinic in 2015 and 2,490 in 2016, which saved the city an estimated $500,000 in health care costs.

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