A proposal to make it easier for armed forces reservists who work for city of San Diego to take part in military training was passed unanimously Wednesday by the City Council’s Budget Committee.
The city’s municipal code only accommodates the orders of active-duty military personnel who work for the city, not reservists, Councilman Mark Kersey said. Reservists in the Police and Fire-Rescue Departments, and lifeguard service, are normally scheduled to work Saturdays and/or Sundays, conflicting with weekend reserve training, he said.
A series of city employees told committee members that they have to use their paid holiday time or unpaid leave in order to perform their military duties.
“It’s clear from the speakers here today that this change in policy is long overdue,” Kersey said.
“It’s not right for our employees to lose vacation time or have to pay for reserve duty,” the councilman said. “Nobody should be penalized for choosing to serve in our military.”
The committee asked the City Attorney’s Office to draft an amendment to the municipal code that the City Council could vote on in time for it to take effect by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year. The change would require meetings with city unions, but most of the organized labor groups were involved in developing the proposal, Kersey said.
Councilman Scott Sherman called the idea “the biggest no-brainer since I came to the council.”
According to Kersey, 98 employees have been granted military leave since July 1, 2013. His office estimated the annual cost of the city of revising the military leave policy to be as low as $100,000.
—City News Service
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