Changes to new chief’s deal

GLOVERSVILLE – New city Fire Chief Thomas Groff was sworn in last week, but the Common Council on Tuesday authorized several changes in the agreement that hired him.

The changes followed a 15-minute, closed-door council executive session with city Labor Attorney Brian Goldberger to discuss contracts and negotiations.

Groff will have mandatory working hours of 40 per week. That includes meetings, mandatory events and emergency call backs. He will earn $87,500 annually, effective Monday. He replaces former Chief Beth Whitman-Putnam, who retired.

A resolution passed by the council Tuesday indicated Groff will follow the city’s 2011 personnel policy for non-unionized city workers. But there were several exceptions listed, including having no holiday sell back or buyout. In the event Groff works all or any portion of a holiday, he will be entitled to time off equivalent to the number of hours worked, the resolution says.

In the area of vacation, the fire chief is being granted 200 hours annually of paid vacation time. Up to 80 hours of unused vacation time can be carried forward from year to year, the resolution says. Any unused vacation time above the 80 hours that can be carried over will be forfeited as of December 31 of each year. There will be no vacation sell back or buy-out of any kind in the agreement.

Groff will earn 12 days of sick leave per year, which accrues monthly and there will be no buyout or sell back of unused sick leave. At the time of retirement or other separation from service, the value of Groff’s unused sick leave may be used toward the payment of the chief’s contribution for health insurance premiums. All accrued, but unused sick leave, will be carried over from year to year and the city can credit the chief with all prior accrued but unused sick leave earned in previous city positions.

Per the agreement between the Groff and the city, 989.75 hours of accrued, but unused compensatory time that the chief previously earned will be converted to sick leave.

The city will not make any payment for longevity after Dec. 31.

In the area of health insurance, Groff during a probationary period of up to one year will pay the contribution he is currently paying in accordance with the Gloversville Firefighters Association contract. At the conclusion of the probationary period, the chief will pay 25 percent of the premium for health insurance coverage selected, as long he remains employed by the city.

Groff will not be entitled to a health insurance buyout. He is entitled to the level of health insurance required by himself, spouse, or family. The chief and his spouse are entitled to reimbursement of Medicare Part B premiums for their lifetime.

In the event Groff divorces his spouse or upon the remarriage of the chief’s spouse following his death, the city has no responsibility to provide health insurance or reimbursement of Medicare Part B premiums.