Council work session considers personnel matters

Stacey Hartley • Oct 14, 2019 at 7:12 AM

Ordinances regarding zoning, personnel provisions and management pay were considered during the Norwalk city council work session Tuesday.

The session, which immediately followed a safety committee meeting, focused on the main issues for the upcoming Oct. 15 regular meeting. 

Law director Stuart O’Hara presented an amendment in the city personnel policy for employees who suffer work-related injuries. While there is a program for those who suffer on-the-job injuries — with/through Workers’ Compensation — that involves transitioning from medically-mandated time off, then back into the work force; the same has not been the case across the board. 

“We don’t have a program for people who suffered a non work-related injury,” O’Hara said. “So (employees) would be off on sick (pay) and then have to come right back and jump back into what they were doing. This (amendment) allows us to have a modified-duty program to help people who suffer non work-related injuries to transition back into the workforce.”

Council members seemed to share a consensus the amendment would make sure employees would no longer have to use their vacation days and/or other paid days off for injuries sustained outside of work.

“Studies have shown that people brought back from light/modified-duty are able to return to full-duty more quickly,” O’hara said.

Some additional details discussed by council members were:

• Time period to be a maximum of 180 work-days/six months

• Transferrable modified-duty responsibilities between city departments

• Rate of pay

Council then moved on to the next proposed ordinance concerning management pay for the new assistant fire chief, in addition to the fire and police chief positions.

Safety-service director Ellen Heinz shared a recommendation of “step” pay increases for the police and fire chiefs, which was tabled in a previous session in 2018.

Heinz said safety services in other cities were used for comparison, in addition to considering the community’s need, the size and scope in the departments’ jurisdiction and the enormous responsibility and vulnerability those positions entail, among other factors.

Council meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the municipal court room, 45 N. Linwood Ave.