Ralston city hall

Ralston’s City Council is going to take a closer look at the benefits packages offered to its city employees.

During its June 19 meeting, the council discussed reviewing and making potential changes to its personnel policy manual. The current manual has been in place for a number of years and was last reviewed in 2013. Council members and City Administrator David Forrest believe the time is right to examine possible revisions that could affect vacation time, sick leave and other areas.

“We can’t find that the entire personnel manual was approved by council and it needs to be approved,” said Council President Jerry Krause. “We may make some changes, but before we do anything, we will get employee and council feedback.”

Forrest said the city needs to get in line with what other communities are doing when it comes to employee benefit packages. He mentioned they are using neighboring cities Bellevue, La Vista and Papillion as reference points.

“This body of officials has never had the opportunity to vote on a benefit package,” he said. “Now we can start fresh. We want to come up with a benefits package that the council can agree on and that the workers think is fair. We need to get in line with other cities and reference those communities and that hasn’t happened.

“I think it’s a worthwhile exercise for the council to endorse and the employees to find acceptable. It’s a conversation that should have happened long ago.”

Councilman Craig Alberhasky believes department heads should be involved in any future conversations about the change to the manual.

“I think they need to be here because it affects them more than it affects us,” Alberhasky said.

Fellow councilman Michael Sanchez agreed it was important to hear all sides moving forward.

“I think it’s always good practice for an organization to re-visit policy,” he said. “We need the right forum to get feedback and we need to look at this from both a quantitative and qualitative approach where we need to look at the numbers, but also look at our city values. We must consider who’s being impacted.”

Krause cautioned that patience must be exercised as the process is in its infant stages.

“There is no sense getting worked up over something that is half done,” he said. “We need to talk about this as a council, get feedback and input, then go to the employees.”

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