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Our View: Limit excessive leave payouts to city workers

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Rocklin City Council members need to stop the current practice of allowing employees to bank excessive sick and vacation time. Last year the council forced incoming City Manager Rick Horst to sign an employment contract that would limit his vacation time payout to six weeks — use it or lose it. That’s about $15,000 for his salary, according to Horst. That decision came on the heels of the retirement of City Manager Carlos Urrutia, who cashed out his banked leave to the tune of $159,452. Last year the city was also forced to write a sizeable check to one former city employee, who cashed in 419 hours, or about 52 days, worth of earned leave time. Two government watchdog groups (the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility and People’s Advocate) are recommending the city adopt a 30-day, use-it-or-lose-it policy. That limit is good enough for U.S. military personnel, who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom. It should be good enough for our city’s unions. The city’s budget shortfall this year will nearly equal what the city paid 142 workers for vacation and sick leave last fiscal year. Why not take advantage of the current negotiations with the city’s unions and fight to get employee leave payouts in line with the rest of the world. The city needs to take a stand against the unions. It’s time to stop those sweetheart deals and start limiting leave payouts.