The Osage Beach Board of Aldermen spent more than an hour last week wading through proposed changes to the city’s personnel policy that would chop up to $150,000 from the city’s 2020 budget.

The Osage Beach Board of Aldermen spent more than an hour last week wading through proposed changes to the city’s personnel policy that would chop up to $150,000 from the city’s 2020 budget.

The cuts are proposed as part of a $4.2 million reduction in the city’s operating budget in the wake of anticipated losses in retail sales tax stemming from COVID-19 and other losses in revenue. Osage Beach businesses – like businesses across the Lake, state and country – virtually closed down in mid-March after local and state health officials and the governor ordered social distancing and gathering restrictions.

Businesses were allowed to re-open in early May with restrictions.

The proposed changes cover:

•Pay and Compensation/Individual Pay Adjustments 

•Attendance and Leave

•Employee Benefits including health, dental and vision insurance 

•Overtime/Comp Time and Flex Time

•Tuition Reimbursement/Education Incentive Policy

“I’ve met with department heads and they’re not happy with this,” City Administrator Jeana Woods told the board during its regular meeting which was held remotely using Zoom software. “We can go back to the drawing board and reassess how to make cuts in personnel costs. But three months from now, I won’t have time to recover operationally and still meet the city’s needs. Have we met with department heads? Yeah, and it’s painful.”

Ultimately, the board voted to amend the ordinance by eliminating two of the five sections, which will be reviewed thoroughly by staff and considered in two separate bills at a future meeting.

The deleted sections left for further review involve how the city plans to deal with changes in Overtime/Comp Time and Flex Time; and Attendance and Leave. 

“This is a lot to chew on,” Alderman Greg Massey said. 

He suggested a special meeting to give fellow board members and staff a chance to review the proposed changes. Aldermen decided not to hold a special meeting, but will have the deleted sections on the agenda.

“We also need our employees to have their voices heard as well,” Massey said.

As the meeting drew to a close, Alderman Richard Ross agreed with Massey. He wants department heads and any employees who have concerns to attend the regular meeting and provide their input. Through the Zoom virtual meeting, employees are able to message the aldermen.

“I’m seeing chats from some of our (police) officers that there is confusion,” he offered. 

Human Resource Director Cindy Leigh noted that the proposed changes affect all 102 of the city’s employees.

City Administrator Woods said the changes put “equities” into the policies.  

“This is part of shoring up some inconsistencies in our policies. Employees would obviously rather keep it the same because that’s the way we’ve done it for a very long time, but there are cuts in personnel cuts that I feel are needed at this time,” Woods said.

For a complete look at the proposed ordinance changes, go to www.osagebeach.mo.gov, then visit Government/Meeting Information and Packets/Most Recent Packet then Item G/Bill 20-32.