Babylon Village buys back employee's vacation time
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Babylon Village trustees have approved a one-time "sell-back" of six weeks of vacation for highway Superintendent Charles "Skip" Gardner, time worth about $8,000.
Gardner, 61, is the village's highest-paid employee, with a salary of $121,890 in 2011, according to the website seethroughny.net. The village did not supply a current payroll. He is also the village's longest-serving worker, and in 45 years he has accumulated thousands of hours of unused vacation time, officials said.
"Here's a guy who has devoted his life to Babylon Village, and we wouldn't be where we are today after Sandy" without him, Mayor Ralph Scordino said. "It was really the right thing to do at this point in time."
Deputy Treasurer Jane Barth said the move will reduce the amount the village will have to pay Gardner for accumulated time upon his retirement, and it would be impractical for Gardner to actually use all the vacation time he is owed. "He pretty much has his hands in every aspect of the village," she said.
He manages the village's storm and emergency response as well as day-to-day maintenance of village machinery, roads and the greenway. "Aside from being a job, this is also my hobby," Gardner said. "I enjoy working and serving this community."
Gardner is a nonunion employee whose earlier job titles have included heavy equipment operator and "administrator to the mayor." Officials said Gardner was the only employee eligible for the buyback, which was established through a board resolution in August, permitting employees with more than 30 weeks of accrued time to sell back six weeks.
The resolution limits all future sell-backs to two weeks, the same amount contractually allowed for union employees.