THOMAS KERVIN PHOTO                                Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas had to make the tough decision to eliminate overtime pay for the district’s confidential secretary.

THOMAS KERVIN PHOTO Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas had to make the tough decision to eliminate overtime pay for the district’s confidential secretary.

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas votes in favour of eliminating overtime pay for confidential secretary

“I think when staff makes a recommendation I have to support staff’s recommendation.”

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas made the tough decision to eliminate overtime pay for the district’s confidential secretary.

A staff report from Chief Administrative Officer Allison McCarrick was discussed at length during the district’s last council meeting on Nov. 13.

The report broke down all of the numbers involved in the secretary’s overtime pay that is currently received.

Council policy CP5.7 provides “a minimum of two overtime hours at time and one-half pay compensation to the confidential secretary for recording evening council meeting minutes,” wrote McCarrick.

“This equates to three hours of regular time which the employee may take as pay or banked time to be used as time off at a future date.”

McCarrick’s analysis showed that there is “a minimum of 20 regular scheduled evening council meetings per year. For these days the minimum amount of time that be banked is 60 hours. The confidential secretary position is a seven hour per day position therefore the banked time could be taken as an 8.5 additional days off.”

McCarrick felt these overtime numbers could be reduced or eliminated by one of the following means:

1. Record evening council meetings to be transcribed the following day;

2. Employee to work a split-shift on evening council meetings days; or

3. Employee work a later-start day on evening council meeting days.

She concluded her report by stating the financial implications of eliminating minimum overtime pay for the secretary would allow the district to save approximately $2,150.

“I move staff’s recommendation (to rescind overtime pay),” said Coun. Leightan Wishart.

“I’ll second that,” added Coun. John Tidbury.

Coun. Fred Robertson wanted to send the report to a future committee of the whole meeting so they could address the issue at a later date, but Dugas reminded him they still had a motion on the floor to accept staff’s recommendation of rescinding the overtime pay.

With that, it was time to vote. Council ended up deadlocking 3-3 (Wishart, Tidbury and Coun. Janet Dorward were in favour of the motion, while Robertson, Coun. Pat Corbett-Labatt and Coun. Treena Smith were against the motion) forcing Dugas to have to break the tie.

“That’s why you get paid the big bucks,” laughed Wishart.

“I can totally see both sides of the discussion, but I think when staff makes a recommendation I have to support staff’s recommendation,” said Dugas, “I support staff on this.”

He then voted in favour of eliminating the secretary’s overtime pay and having staff implement the most effective option for the district.