Toledo city workers will continue to be fed on the city's dime if they are working extended hours. After a debate on the practice sparked by a city audit report made in November, the city council voted 3-2 to continue the long-standing practice at their regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 13.
Toledo has bought meals for employees who are working long hours during such events as water main break repairs or snow plowing during storms which require them to be on the job non-stop. Mayor Dave Svoboda has contended the practice has been in place for "at least 30 or 40 years."
However, Beth Miller, of the city's audit firm Bowman Miller PC, told the council on Nov. 11 the practice brings up income tax issues for employees. Miller said none of the other cities for which her firm performs audits provides meals. She said paying for meals is not illegal, but said the city needed a policy in place for the benefit.
A Toledo city crew works to repair a water line valve which broke last week at South County?Road (U.S. 63) and Myrtle Street one of seven breaks recently in the city due the ground heaving due to frigid weather. If workers are required to stay on the job until repairs are made, they will be entitled to meals paid by the city it has been established by the city council.
As a result, City Attorney Mike Marquess drafted a Meal Reimbursement Policy approved by council members Jeff Filloon, Terry Goodhart and Joe Boll. Members Brian Sokol and travis Mullen voted "no."
City Clerk Julie Wilkerson told The Chronicle the amount spent in the last fiscal year for meals provided to workers totaled $804.
Miller, in her audit report, said the monetary amount involved was "very minimal."
Some of the provisions include:
Meals are provided when employees cannot leave the job-site "due to the emergency or critical nature of the work."
Cost shall be limited to federal guidelines and tips shall be no more than 15 percent with receipts required.
Restricted to food items only, no alcohol, tobacco or non-consumable items are allowed.
Policy for payment for meals for employees on official business outside a 30-mile distance are allowed.