Thursday, October 30, 2008

Unlimited Time to Campaign at Full Pay

For the last two weeks, I have seen Dan Coody out campaigning when he should have been at work. We pay him more than $107,000 a year to look after city business, not to be out campaigning for himself in the middle of the day on our time. On Wednesday, I went to the courthouse for early voting, and there Coody was campaigning. He accosted me as I stepped off the shuttle bus and was downright rude as I was trying to get past him to get to the Clerk‘s Office and cast my ballot. It was almost like I had stepped in something and couldn't get it off my shoe. Yuk.

Curious, I contacted City Hall to check on whether Dan Coody had taken vacation time to campaign today and the other times I have seen him harassing voters at the courthouse or streetside. It turns out, I was informed, that Coody does not earn any vacation time to take, so he just leaves to campaign whenever he wants and doesn’t have to ask permission, keep a record, or even tell anyone where he is going.

Dan Coody doesn’t have to fill out a timesheet like other salaried employees, and those timesheets are the only way to track absences. And furthermore, the City doesn’t and can’t dock the Mayor's pay for a partial day absence. He is paid $50 an hour, whether he shows up to work at City Hall, lounges on a Carribbean beach in his Speedo, or takes a day off to campaign.

So, I asked, when Dan and his wife took off for three weeks last December to vacation in Germany, France, Amsterdam, and who knows where else, he didn’t have to clock out or take vacation time? No such requirement for our Mayor. The City Council stayed put and worked out a balanced budget while Dan was on a three-week vacation at full pay.

Could he have stayed six months, I asked, and again was told that it's up to the supervisor to discipline a City employee, salaried or hourly, for excessive absenteeism and poor attendance issues. It also is the City’s stated position that the Mayor has no supervisor except "the people.”

We’ll get a chance to discipline Dan on Tuesday.

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