Denison City Council okays policy changes

The Denison City Council approved policy changes on Monday that formalize its purchasing practices and updates its personnel procedures.

City Fiance Director Renee Waggoner said the new purchasing manual doesn’t represent any major changes for the practices the city already employees, but is simply a formalization of the procedures.

“We just want to make sure we have written guidelines for everyone to follow, that way everyone’s following the policy so there’s no question as to what they need to be doing,” she said.

Waggoner said having a written policy will help to prevent abuse and error, but added that such instances were not the reason for the policy’s creation. “We just needed to formalize it,” she said.

The Council also approved a new personnel policy. The policy does represent changes from some of the city’s previous practices, but Human Resources Director Rich Hollensed said the changes put the city more in line with recognized municipal practices.

The biggest change is placing a cap on the accrual of vacation hours for employees and the elimination of a provision to pay police and fire civil service employees for accrued, but unused holiday pay. The cap for vacation accrual is 240 hours for all employees except 24-hour-shift fire employees who have a cap of 360 hours.

Employees who currently exceed the cap, will be required “to ‘burn down’ their vacation time at a reasonable rate commensurate with their current vacation leave balance,” said City Manager Robert Hanna in a memo to the council. “In the event an employee was unable to burn the total time down, or the needs of the organization prohibited the employee from doing so, the City Manager would be authorized to pay the employee for that leave above the new cap.”

The buy-back period will be for just one year.

Other policy changes include rules on dress and grooming, prohibiting tobacco use in city vehicles, and changes to the tuition reimbursement policy to be based on academic performance.

In other business the council voted to:

• approve a minor change to the Historic Preservation ordinance, which will allow the city to participate in the Certified Local Government Program and have access to expert advise on historic preservation matters and 50-50 matching federal grants;

• accept the bids for the demolition of 1 Cynthia Lane, 401 W. Johnson, 419 E. Gandy, 505 W. Hull, 507 W. Walker, 511 M. L. King, 610 W. Elm, 616 W. Elm, 712 W. Shepherd, 919 W. Nelson, 929 W. Walker, 3916 F. M. 120, 4317 Texoma Parkway;

• proceed with the demolition process for property at 101 East Bond, 505 West Parnell, 819 West Munson, 825 West Munson, 908 West Owings, 1222 Carla Drive and 4829 Adobe Lane;

• approve a five-year agreement with New World Systems for public safety (Aegis) software, a budgeted item.