Mission votes to ‘take care’ of full and part-time city employees during COVID-19 stay-at-home order

The city has between 85 to 90% of employees actively engaged in work daily, and an average bi-weekly payroll of $200,000, said city administrator Laura Smith.

The Mission city council during a special called meeting on Wednesday evening unanimously approved employee compensation and benefit amendments to the city’s state of emergency and disaster proclamation, which was originally issued on March 13 and first amended on March 18.

The amendments ensure full-time and part-time city workers are compensated for hours worked or hours scheduled, and employees that must physically show up to work will accrue extra vacation time. These plans differ from the neighboring community of Overland Park, which ordered that 200 part-time employees be furloughed.

Below are amendments related to Mission staff, as outlined by city documents:

  • All city employees will be compensated with either their actual hours worked or their regularly scheduled hours — whichever is the greater of the two — up to and including Sat., April 25 (as it covers the end of the state and county stay-at-home orders as they stand, and falls in line with Mission’s bi-weekly payroll period).
  • City “employees who have physically reported to work from March 23 through the conclusion of the stay-at-home order” will get eight additional hours of vacation time per every 40 hours they work.
  • If the stay-at-home orders are extended past April 24, City Administrator Laura Smith will “evaluate the city’s financial resources” and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to bring forward an employee compensation and benefits recommendation to the governing body.

Councilmember Sollie Flora said she appreciated efforts to keep staff whole to the extent the city is able, as it will help the community on the backend.

Mayor Ron Appletoft said taking care of and retaining the city’s full-time and part-time employees will prove beneficial in the long run.

Mayor Ron Appletoft, seen above in a file photo, noted on Monday that the council had deliberated at length on the issue earlier this month.

“Once this emergency passes, if we retain our employees — especially the part-time employees at our community center — then we will be able to be up and running very quickly,” Appletoft said. “If we don’t have those employees, there will be a lag on being able to open our community center.”

Smith said the city has between 85 to 90% of employees actively engaged in work daily, and an average bi-weekly payroll of $200,000. Additionally, the city would be spending $20,000 to $30,000 that might not be necessary if it furloughed employees, according to city documents.

Councilmember Trent Boultinghouse asked if the language in the amendments clarified that the eight hours of additional vacation time could be accrued only through April 25, and Smith said it would be added into the document.