City policy allowed $100,000 sick and vacation payout

With pay and termination benefits under the microscope last week for St Johns County Administrator Michael Wanchick, Historic City News found poorly worded employment policies at City Hall that allowed a recent retiree to collect over $100,000 as a cash payout for unused sick leave and vacation pay.

City and county governments all have limits on the amount of severance compensation that can be paid to an employee for unused sick leave and vacation pay — except the City of St Augustine.

As highlighted in a January 3rd memo to county commissioners from Stacey Stanish, Director of Administrative and Support Services, although Wanchick has accrued 997.54 hours of vacation as of December 17, 2016, he would be held to a “maximum of 320 hours upon separation”, consistent with senior management vacation limits. In accordance with the St Johns County Administrative Code, accrued vacation leave may be paid upon separation of employment, but shall not exceed 320 hours.

That policy, and 320-hour limit, are consistent with neighboring cities and counties, after checking Flagler and Putnam counties as well as the City of Palm Coast and the City of Palatka.

In contrast, at the City of St Augustine, under the current HR Policies obtained by Historic City News, inconsistent use of terms like “maximum” and conflicting terms like “maximum plus” make any full-time employee of the City able to accrue an unlimited amount of sick leave and vacation time credit and redeem it for cash when they leave.

Per Donna Hayes, the City’s Human Resources Director, the confusion appears to be between the understanding that she and her staff have about how separation benefits “have always been paid”, the way that they are accounted for in MUNIS, the accounting software used by her department, and wording in the policies which has been “patched” over the years and now is subject to interpretation.

For example, under the most liberal interpretation of City employment policy, when Loran Lueders separated on November 30, 2016, the Human Resources Department ordered that he be paid for 615.6 hours of accumulated vacation time (plus an additional 12.3 hours of accrued vacation) in addition to a whopping 1,257.8 hours of accumulated sick leave (plus an additional 6.2 hours of accrued sick leave). After adjustments, he was paid for just over 1,885 hours.

Using a $53.24 per hour base rate, Lueders received a lump sum payout of $100,402.33 for his unused vacation and sick leave benefits. Retiring as chief of police, a position he held since November 8, 2004 when former chief, David Shoar, was elected sheriff, Lueders earned $110,746.79 annually as a salary — plus executive level benefits.

  • But at the county, as clarified during last Tuesday’s commission meeting, Wanchick’s accrued vacation balance of 971.694 hours (as of December 31) had a value of $99,958.16 — but only if taken as time. Stanish explained that because of the 320-hour maximum provided under County policy, Wanchick could only be paid a maximum of $32,918.40.
  • Likewise, Stanish explained, Wanchick’s accrued sick leave balance of 752.694 hours (as of December 31) had a monetary value of $77,437.14 — but, again, only if taken as time. Being more restrictive than vacation time, the County limits cash payouts of sick leave to one-fourth of the current balance up to a maximum of 300-hours, or $19,359.20 in Wanchick’s case.

Finally, despite being a management employee (excluded from the labor agreement that governs regular police officers) and being a “salaried” employee (excluded from “overtime”), Lueders was also paid $5,032 in overtime based on the city manager’s declaration of a “state of emergency” during Hurricane Matthew.

CITY EMPLOYEES WHO CURRENTLY HAVE 300-HOURS OR MORE SICK LEAVE:

Last name First name Department Type Available
HARRINGTON MARK GEN SERVCS  SICK LEAVE 1026.80
MCCAULLEY PATRICK POLICE  SICK LEAVE 1024.80
PARTIN JOHN PUBLIC WRK  SICK LEAVE 990.80
LANGFORD SHARON VIC  SICK LEAVE 948.80
LAW BRETT FIRE  SICK LEAVE 868.17
STEPHENS LEE FIRE  SICK LEAVE 835.24
PROTAMI WILLIAM POLICE  SICK LEAVE 817.10
HENNESSEY JOSHUA FIRE  SICK LEAVE 814.67
TRUNCELLITO JEFFREY POLICE  SICK LEAVE 771.90
HALEY LESTER UTILITIES  SICK LEAVE 753.30
GRAHAM SCOTT FBM  SICK LEAVE 747.50
SCHUYLER-VETTER SUZANNA POLICE  SICK LEAVE 734.30
STARK KEVIN FIRE  SICK LEAVE 695.17
BETTS JOHN FIRE  SICK LEAVE 685.23
VON BRETZEL JAMES FIRE  SICK LEAVE 679.80
PUTZ CHARLENE PUBLIC WRK  SICK LEAVE 673.80
MASCHI MICHAEL GEN SERVCS  SICK LEAVE 625.30
NIEDERRITER JOHN POLICE  SICK LEAVE 592.90
TROUTMAN LAURIE POLICE  SICK LEAVE 573.80
BOJKO JOAN VIC  SICK LEAVE 567.20
MOSCOSO ANDRES FIRE  SICK LEAVE 550.17
GRAHAM MARTHA UTILITIES  SICK LEAVE 529.20
PAGANO MICHAEL UTILITIES  SICK LEAVE 522.00
WRIGHT STEVE PUBLIC WRK  SICK LEAVE 520.40
JACOBS DIANNE GEN SERVCS  SICK LEAVE 518.60
KELLER GREGORY FIRE  SICK LEAVE 503.07
LITZINGER MARK FBM  SICK LEAVE 494.80
FOX BARRY POLICE  SICK LEAVE 493.80
CUSHMAN CHARLES GEN SERVCS  SICK LEAVE 483.80
MICHAUX JENNIFER POLICE  SICK LEAVE 482.30
SKIPP GLABRA UTILITIES  SICK LEAVE 474.50
SNIDER RUTH VIC  SICK LEAVE 467.20
BOLES CURTIS PLAN/BLDG  SICK LEAVE 451.40
OBERHOLZER HARDUS FIRE  SICK LEAVE 430.86
FOREMAN DIANE POLICE  SICK LEAVE 427.70
BROWN BRETT UTILITIES  SICK LEAVE 399.30
MCKENZIE JOSHUA FIRE  SICK LEAVE 393.56
MANGELS CHARLES PUBLIC WRK  SICK LEAVE 389.55
FRASCA BRIAN POLICE  SICK LEAVE 385.30
SHIELDS TIMOTHY GEN SERVCS  SICK LEAVE 383.80
FOUNTAIN ERA CITY MGR  SICK LEAVE 370.60
HINES MICHAEL FIRE  SICK LEAVE 359.30
SEYMOUR BRANDON FIRE  SICK LEAVE 358.75
FERRELL WAYNE POLICE  SICK LEAVE 350.30
LINSKY MICHAEL POLICE  SICK LEAVE 347.50
CYR DAVID UTILITIES  SICK LEAVE 337.30
HAYES DONNA GEN SERVCS  SICK LEAVE 334.90
LEVERETT JASON FIRE  SICK LEAVE 333.82
CARROLL KEVIN POLICE  SICK LEAVE 333.80
SHORE CODY FIRE  SICK LEAVE 328.15
MARSHALL ROBIN POLICE  SICK LEAVE 326.90
WEILAND PETER FIRE  SICK LEAVE 319.06
PURTILL EDWARD FIRE  SICK LEAVE 316.80
BURCHFIELD TIMOTHY CITY MGR  SICK LEAVE 313.30
LUI DANIEL POLICE  SICK LEAVE 312.30
SHIRSHIKOVA ALINA POLICE  SICK LEAVE 308.50
CABRERA RICHARD FBM  SICK LEAVE 300.80

CITY EMPLOYEES WHO CURRENTLY HAVE 320-HOURS OR MORE VACATION TIME:

Last name First name Department Type Available
HENNESSEY JOSHUA FIRE VACATION 902.40
LAW BRETT FIRE VACATION 863.32
STEPHENS LEE FIRE VACATION 843.06
STARK KEVIN FIRE VACATION 772.25
BETTS JOHN FIRE VACATION 696.18
LEVERETT JASON FIRE VACATION 683.33
FITTIPALDI MICHAEL FIRE VACATION 650.82
BURCHFIELD TIMOTHY CITY MGR VACATION 596.31
MILLER CHRIS POLICE VACATION 592.00
PURTILL EDWARD FIRE VACATION 580.90
REGAN JOHN CITY MGR VACATION 560.00
TRUNCELLITO JEFFREY POLICE VACATION 557.89
HALEY LESTER UTILITIES VACATION 556.00
MASTERS CARL GEN SERVCS VACATION 549.75
BIRCHIM DAVID PLAN/BLDG VACATION 546.15
HARRINGTON MARK GEN SERVCS VACATION 544.85
MCKENZIE JOSHUA FIRE VACATION 541.86
LANGFORD SHARON VIC VACATION 541.69
CYR DAVID UTILITIES VACATION 537.00
FOREMAN DIANE POLICE VACATION 532.23
NIEDERRITER JOHN POLICE VACATION 520.96
KELLER GREGORY FIRE VACATION 517.11
MIER STEVEN UTILITIES VACATION 515.39
VON BRETZEL JAMES FIRE VACATION 514.33
FOX BARRY POLICE VACATION 513.32
DAVISON PAUL UTILITIES VACATION 512.62
MCCAULLEY PATRICK POLICE VACATION 507.40
HALE GORDON UTILITIES VACATION 505.21
CARTER JAMES UTILITIES VACATION 504.00
PAGANO MICHAEL UTILITIES VACATION 500.92
CUSHMAN CHARLES GEN SERVCS VACATION 497.54
MASCHI MICHAEL GEN SERVCS VACATION 495.15
BERUBE JAMES GEN SERVCS VACATION 494.83
HALBIRT CARL PLAN/BLDG VACATION 493.92
CASTAING MICHAEL POLICE VACATION 493.50
MOSCOSO ANDRES FIRE VACATION 489.41
BOLES CURTIS PLAN/BLDG VACATION 488.00
HILL LENA FBM VACATION 485.35
SHIELDS TIMOTHY GEN SERVCS VACATION 471.69
BOJKO JOAN VIC VACATION 470.16
SCHUYLER-VETTER SUZANNA POLICE VACATION 464.31
SPEED THADDEUS UTILITIES VACATION 460.46
BROOKINS RICHARD PUBLIC WRK VACATION 448.46
KING ARTHUR PUBLIC WRK VACATION 440.22
LUI DANIEL POLICE VACATION 438.70
HILL LENA VIC VACATION 434.94
MOREHEAD DAVID GEN SERVCS VACATION 424.62
ALBIN KAREN UTILITIES VACATION 424.05
EVANS NATHAN FIRE VACATION 423.36
MARSHALL ROBIN POLICE VACATION 420.49
VALARO MICHAEL UTILITIES VACATION 419.55
AVILES CARLOS FIRE VACATION 417.35
CLARK TODD FBM VACATION 411.74
SANTON WILLIAM UTILITIES VACATION 410.52
MANGELS CHARLES PUBLIC WRK VACATION 410.28
LA POINTE JAMES UTILITIES VACATION 406.28
REAMES TERRY UTILITIES VACATION 405.92
BROWN JO LINDA FIRE VACATION 405.17
TROUTMAN LAURIE POLICE VACATION 404.05
NEASE RONALD GEN SERVCS VACATION 401.55
LITZINGER MARK FBM VACATION 393.54
SARGENT TED GEN SERVCS VACATION 389.43
EMBREY DARRICK POLICE VACATION 387.95
MICHAUX JENNIFER POLICE VACATION 386.24
LEMKE ROBERT PUBLIC WRK VACATION 383.48
SHORE CODY FIRE VACATION 378.23
TIMMONS ZACHARY FIRE VACATION 376.80
MCCALL RONALD PUBLIC WRK VACATION 363.21
SPARROW LORENZO GEN SERVCS VACATION 357.40
GRIFFIN JONATHAN PUBLIC WRK VACATION 356.55
BRADLEY GUERRY FIRE VACATION 346.90
TAYLOR ABIGAIL FIRE VACATION 343.51
DELANEY RICHARD PUBLIC WRK VACATION 333.63
MAY MAE VIC VACATION 332.46
ADUKIEWICZ SAMUEL GEN SERVCS VACATION 325.78
SMITH WILLIAM PUBLIC WRK VACATION 324.01
MARTIN EVAN POLICE VACATION 323.08
OBERHOLZER HARDUS FIRE VACATION 322.05

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