In the words of soul singer Sam Cooke, “It's been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.”

Richmond Mayor Robert Blythe referenced the 1963 song after the city commission reviewed newly drafted revisions to the city of Richmond’s Personnel Policy Manual on Tuesday morning.

According to city officials, the revised manual was originally approved to be revised by the Kentucky League of Cities in 2015, but has taken years to complete.

Finally, on Tuesday morning, City Manager Rob Minerich and city human resource department officials presented their 135-page revised document in a workshop meeting and gave background on the project.

In 2015 the city began to process of updating the the personnel policy, but for three and a half years, it failed to be done. 

“When I came on in 2018 I was assured we would get it done," Minerich. "Some changes were made in that department and new leadership came in and seven colleagues of mine in city hall formed a committee to start a revision with the guidance from KLC.

When COVID hit in March, obviously, we delayed it and in the past three months we have worked very hard to make revisions in each section,” he said.

What the document does, Minerich explained, is bring the city up-to-date in federal and state guidelines for the KLC’s recommendation.

He said the new draft of the policy includes changes he believes will benefit their employees.

For example, New Year’s Eve will be added as a holiday, an ‘emergency day’ will be given to each employee and the most changes came in regards to the accumulation of vacation days.

Like most businesses, city employees acquire all of their vacation days at the start of the year. But with the new policy, employees will receive their vacation days once on a monthly basis, which he claimed was standard for state and local governments.

Additionally, unused vacation days will be allowed to roll over into the next year, and will not fall under a ‘use or lose’ scenario as was done previously.

Since my tenure, I have seen people scramble at the last of the year to use those days,” Minerich said. “Which is fine — but it can hurt productivity here in the city.”

The rollover vacation hours will be topped at a collective of 320 hours. Once an employee hits that cap, then the ‘use it or lose it’ methodology would resume.

Going forward, Minerich hopes the document will serve as a “living document,” so updates can be made yearly as recommendations are provided.

As things need to be updated, we are going to go ahead and keep them updated,” he said.

After the order was read aloud and approved by the commissioners, Minerich let out a “Hallelujah!”

Althea Causey, the director of the Human Resources Department agreed and stated, “It has been a long time coming.”

The change has come,” said Mayor Blythe.

 Other business: 

The Richmond Commission heard from Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley, George Wyatt of the Airport Board and Karyn Leverenz with the Bluegrass Area Development District, who gave a presentation that regarded a sewer and waterline extension at the regional airport. The city of Berea is a sponsor of the project, which would replace sewer lines at the airport and increase the water line from two inches to eight inches in order to update needed infrastructure. With this order, the cities of Richmond and Berea, as well as Madison County, could be responsible for a third of the $200,000 payment if the airport board were to default on the loan which finances the project. This will go before the commission next Tuesday for a first reading. 

Sean Pixley was approved for hire as an environment technician for the city's recycling department. 

The next Richmond City Commission meeting is scheduled for Oct. 27, at 6 p.m. 

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6695 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR. 

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