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Local News

'Unwritten practice' in Joliet contributed to $104,000 retirement payout

Joliet City Hall
Joliet City Hall

JOLIET – An "unwritten practice" of lifting caps on unpaid vacation time contributed to a $104,000 retirement payout to a Joliet department head, Interim City Manager Marty Shanahan said Friday.

Shanahan said the practice was stopped in July, and city employees no longer can accumulate unlimited vacation time to be paid at retirement.

"It was something that was never really put into writing," Shanahan said. "It was just allowed to happen."

The city has a policy capping vacation time, but it also previously gave city managers discretion to waive the cap for non-union employees if it was determined they could not take vacation time because of work demands.

Shanahan said he did not know how much impact waivers on the cap had on the $104,155 retirement payout to David Mackley.

Mackley, the city's director of inspectional services, will receive a $104,155 payout of unused vacation, sick and comp time when he retires on March 31.

The payout was disclosed last week to the city council, a regular public disclosure required by state law when payments have an impact on the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

The Mackley payout is estimated to increase his monthly pension by $1,319 and cost the city a total of $237,002, including pension payments.

Shanahan said he did not know how much of Mackley's payout was due to vacation time beyond the cap.

Joliet allows employees to accumulate unused vacation, sick and comp time not used in a given year.

Vacation carryovers are capped at 1.5 times the amount allowed in a given year.

But until July 1, policy gave city managers the discretion to remove the cap on vacation time for non-union employees who did not take vacation time because of staff shortages, Shanahan said.

Former City Manager Jim Hock stopped that practice with an order issued May 3 while providing a grace period for employees to still cash out on unused time beyond the caps.

May 3 was also Hock's last day of work with the city.

The Hock order allows accumulated vacation time beyond the cap until 2019, but it cannot be held until retirement. Instead, all vacation time beyond the cap accumulated after July 1 will be paid out on the last paycheck of 2018.

Starting in Jan. 1, 2019, any vacation time accumulated beyond the cap will not be carried over.

Caps already are in place for sick and comp time. But city employees are allowed to carry over a certain amount of days for those as well.

City employees can accumulate up to 1,012 hours of sick time. The can take pay for between 405 and 506 of those hours, depending on their employee classification.

City employees can accumulate up to 120 hours of comp time.

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