Cobleskill employee issues draw fire


By Patsy Nicosia

Village of Cobleskill Trustee Tom Johnstone tried to bring the hammer down on double-dipping by village employees Tuesday, offering a series of four resolutions before withdrawing them for discussion in closed executive session.
At issue was what sort of health insurance buy-out employees should be able to get if two people in the same family work for the village.
No employees were named.
However, Mr. Johnstone also offered a resolution that prohibits employees from routinely bringing their children to work with them as Village Clerk Samantha Moyster does with permission from Mayor Linda Holmes.
Trustee Howard Burt supported Mr. Johnstone's resolutions while Mayor Holmes and Trustees Kathleen Johnson and Nancy VanDeusen argued they were topics for an executive session on updates to the village's employee handbook.
Mr. Johnstone first moved that the village establish a policy that only one member of an employed family can be "bought out" for not taking advantage of health insurance through the village-offered family plan.
After discussion that the issue is addressed in the handbook revisions, Mr. Johnstone withdrew that resolution.
He then offered a another that would require employees who have inappropriately received a family buy-out credit in the past to pay back the difference between that and the individual buy-out credit.
Otherwise, they'd be prohibited from receiving even individual buy-out credit.
Mayor Holmes defended Mr. Johnstone's complaints by saying the village was only following policy.
"We just let it go because that's how the handbook was written," she said, adding that the changes being discussed reflect the concerns by Mr. Johnstone and others.
Mr. Johnstone also withdrew the second resolution, but then offered a third asking that the village establish a policy that no documents with elected officials' and employees' personal information on them leave the office.
"People are working on stuff at home," agreed Mr. Burt. "I don't want it...on someone's kitchen table" or left and then stolen from someone's car.
Finally, Mr. Johnstone said he wants the village to pass a policy that prohibits employees from bringing their children to work on a regular basis; when school's closed for something like weather or there's an unforeseen emergency, it's fine, he said.
Ms. VanDeusen said she felt that's also a discussion for the handbook.
"It seems reasonable to me," Mr. Burt said. "If you allow it for some people, what about everyone else? We're going to have kids playing in the sewer plant or riding around in trucks..."