Martin fireman’s request dies with board

Martin fireman’s request dies with board

A Martin firefighter’s last day was Monday after a request to re-evaluate his sick leave died for a lack of a motion during a special meeting held at noon Monday.
Robert Gertsch was slated for early retirement after he turned 60 years old this year. During a Martin board meeting held earlier this month, Gertsch asked board members to assess the employee handbook, which noted 12 hours of sick time for a firefighter equated to one day.
Under that perception, Gertsch announced he would have enough accrued sick time to remain an employee until April 2012, at which time, he would be a vested employee and eligible for retirement benefits.
A firefighter works 24-hour shifts.
Gertsch had been with the Martin Fire Department for five years.
During the special meeting Monday, Martin Mayor Randy Brundige asked Gertsch what he was requesting from the board.
“First I want to clarify that I did not ask any firefighter to donate sick time. They offered it to me,” Gertsch announced.
His request was to allow the sick leave policy to grant his accrued hours based on the specific terms of the handbook.
“Any time you use sick time, we charge a day. If we didn’t, you would actually lose one-third of your sick leave,” Martin Mayor Randy Brundige said.
Under the policy, Gertsch said he was going to lose one-third of sick time.
“Sick leave is something that I have earned, just like every city worker. I am asking you to uphold what you voted on in the beginning with the employee handbook,” Gertsch replied.
Gertsch announced he had consulted two attorneys and one judge and was told he was in the right with the issue.
Brundige said the city attorney told him they were standing on solid ground with the personnel policy.
When Brundige asked board members for a motion on the issue, no motion was made and the issue died with the board.
Gertsch said it was a matter of hours, not days. Gertsch did comment if the City of Martin fraudulently reports days off “just to save money, that action was considered criminal.”
His last day with the department was Monday.
Alderman Terry Hankins commented after the meeting he regretted Gertsch had to leave, but the policy was in place for everyone.
Other aldermen agreed with Hankins after the special meeting adjourned.

WCP 11.29.11

Leave a Comment