Policy parks city cars at day’s end

Patterson Mayor Rodney Grogan

By PRESTON GILL pgill@daily-review.com

The City Council appears ready to implement a policy that will prohibit city employees, including police, from taking home city vehicles once their shift is over, or use them for any other non-city business reason.
Council members dove into the vehicle-use policy Thursday afternoon at the latest in a series of workshops designed to work out the details of a new employee handbook.
The council declined to consider a vehicle-use policy at Tuesday night’s regular council meeting.
Mayor Rodney Grogan initiated a policy effective Sept. 19 that disallowed city vehicles from leaving the city limits at the end of a worker’s shift. The policy change primarily impacted police units of officers living outside of the city limits. Officers living inside the city could still bring their vehicles home. The new policy, if adopted, would keep all units parked on city property at the conclusion of a work shift.
Police Chief Patrick LaSalle said the police department will respect the council’s decision if that is what they vote to accept as the new policy.
“We are going to persevere. … We will move forward,” LaSalle said.
The council agreed to a policy stating employees may not use city vehicles for non-business purposes under any circumstances except with the mayor’s approval.
The four council members attending approved the addition. Councilwoman Sandra Turner was not at the workshop.
Employees who are on call would still be allowed to bring a vehicle home.
The city has four public works employees, including a supervisor, who rotate weekly on call assignments after hours or on the weekend, Steve Bierhorst, director of the department, said. During their week to be on call they are paid an extra hour a day in compensation and they run a daily weekend round of checks on the city’s pumps, he said.
The new handbook meets the expectations of insurance carriers who have been clamoring for a more detailed City of Patterson employee handbook, Dave Lowery, city manager said.
Lowery said he would try to email a final draft of the new policies and the rest of the handbook to the council members before the end of the year to allow vote on it at the Jan. 7, 2014, meeting.

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