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Village OK’s vacation buyouts for employees

The village unanimously voted Monday to codify the practice of paying its non-union employees for vacation time they’ve earned.

Until now, the village has made unauthorized payments to department heads and other non-collective bargaining unit employees for unused vacation time.

The village currently owes employees about 6,000 hours for accrued vacation time. Most of that will be paid out, but this time it will be done legally. Mayor Craig Randall did say a few employees, who he did not name, had more than 300 hours of vacation time on the books.

“There may be one or two individuals that have time in excess and we’re going to look at those individually and decide what to do with,” Randall said. “I saw a few in the 300 hour range which I need to look at.”

The village’s inadequate policies regarding vacation buyouts were highlighted in a scathing state Comptrollers audit last winter. The audit found that employees received more than $100,000 in unused vacation time and recommended that the village seek to recover those funds: something Randall said the village would not undertake.

“The time that was taken out that was earned by these people is their time.” It does not make senst to go back and do that” Randall said. “Instead I think we should pass the resolution that recognizes that practice.”

The comptroller’s report singled out longtime village Clerk Kathryn "Kook" McKillip as the main instigator behind a series of accounting errors and recommended a criminal investigation of her actions.

The Essex County District Attorney dropped all criminal charges against the clerk earlier this summer, saying he did not believe he could prove McKillip knew she was acting criminally.

The village’s resolution this week does not address about $22,000 taken by McKillip for money she did not earn.

The village is still seeking recovery of the missing funds.

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