Springfield trustees permit sick leave donation at meeting
By Mike D’Agruma
The Springfield Township Board of Trustees unanimously voted to permit fulltime fire department employees to donate sick leave to injured firemedic Chris Bryan during a special meeting Aug. 23.
Bryan, who has been employed with the department since 1999, was originally injured September 2005 while on vacation, according to Fire Chief Vic Wincik. Since his initial injury, Wincik said Bryan has been forced to deal with complications that required surgeries in October 2006 and February of this year. An infection, unrelated to his previous injury, has resulted in a fourth surgery performed this month.
Wincik said though Bryan has been back to work in between surgeries, he hasn’t accrued enough time to fully restock his previously used sick leave. During the meeting, Wincik said Bryan had 25 hours of time remaining. Once that is exhausted, he said Bryan would receive no income from the department.
Wincik said some department employees, both union and nonunion, stepped forward willing to donate leave time to Bryan. Because there is no township policy regarding sick leave donation, the board is required to approve the request on a case-by-case basis. Wincik said there was an attempt to negotiate a policy into the department’s collective bargaining agreement during the last renegotiation without success.
With the board’s approval of the donation request, participating employees must return a signed form or letter to Wincik giving the township and Fiscal Officer Richard Huber permission to subtract an equal amount of sick leave from their accounts to meet the pay period’s obligation of 80 hours. According to the legislation, an employee must maintain a minimum of 240 hours after donation to participate. The legislation also states donated time will not be returned.
“It just identifies the exceptional working relationship and the exceptional attitude of the employees to do that — to donate their time,” Wincik said.
“This is more of a donation one-way,” he added. “It just speaks for the high caliber of the employee.”
Wincik said the department can’t find any instance of this type of situation occurring as far back as 1992, but isn’t completely sure if the instance is unprecedented, saying he heard via word-of-mouth it may have happened before.
Donations will conclude when Bryan returns to work or at a date established by the trustees.
In other business pertaining to the fire department, trustees accepted the resignation of seven-year veteran firemedic Michael Beckman and approved the promotions of Kevin Atkinson and Joe Burnside from part-time to fulltime firemedics. Beckman is resigning to take a position with the Barberton Fire Department.
Wincik said there were plans to hire a fulltime firemedic before Beckman’s resignation. He added the department is looking to slowly increase the number of fulltime firemedics to meet the needs of an ever-changing industry and to reduce the amount of overtime hours. In other business, the trustees:
authorized the fire department to increase permanent appropriations filed with Summit County for 2007 from 85 percent to 90 percent;
approved the transfer of $18,297 to cover $13,700 for repairs to a fire engine and $4,597 for the township’s 5 percent share of the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance Firefighters grant; and
approved a payment of $1,569 to Anclote Fire & Safety.
After the special meeting, trustees held a public hearing regarding a zoning text amendment that would alter the permitted and conditionally permitted uses in the Office and Research District (O-R).
Zoning Department Administrator Nick Campanelli explained the changes, which included minor modifications to the O-R purpose statement; removing light manufacturing from the permitted uses; moving “research and testing laboratories” from conditionally permitted uses to permitted uses; and adding single family dwellings, adult and child daycare facilities and healthcare facilities to conditionally permitted uses.
No one was present to speak at the hearing and trustees unanimously approved the change with modifications to rectify one inconsistency. The text change came with a recommendation by the township’s Zoning Commission.
The next Springfield trustees meeting will take place Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Administrative Boardroom, 2459 Canfield Road.