Council member objects to move
Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/17/2011 08:34:50 PM PST

RIALTO – The city has brought three recently retired employees back on a part-time basis, but given the city’s financial constraints one City Council member has questioned the move.

Councilwoman Deborah Robertson said hiring temporary employees will cost the city money it could have saved by holding the positions vacant.

“I just don’t see how we’re going to see savings if we take a position that as soon as somebody retires we’re going to back-fill them with a part-time position with their same salary and try to say to us that the savings is because we’re not paying benefits,” Robertson said.

In a 4-1 vote Jan. 11, with Robertson dissenting, the council rehired a redevelopment contract negotiator, a community relations police lieutenant and an administrative police sergeant on a temporary part-time basis.

The top-step pay rate for the employees range between $48 and $92 per hour, according to a city report.

Since they’re part time, they’re not eligible for benefits. But the city will have to pay 7 1/2 percent of their salary into a deferred-compensation plan since the city doesn’t participate in Social Security, the report said.

The employees are eligible to work 960 hours a year, which equates to six months of full-time work. When Robertson asked City Administrator Henry Garcia how much the temporary employees would cost the city, he said it will depend how many hours they work, but he doesn’t expect the amount to exceed $250,000.

Robertson said the duties of the two Police Department positions could have been filled with existing officers and city management should have planned for the retirement of the contract negotiator.

“We’ve known that they would be retiring for a while,” Robertson said. “We should have been working as diligent managers to ensure that we had a transition.”

Councilman Ed Scott said he supported bringing back the retirees because he didn’t want to see police officers taken off the street to do extra work.

The contract negotiator is needed to continue closing leases at the former Rialto Municipal Airport property, where new development is planned, Scott added.

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