By Kevin J Sabo
For the Independent
Stettler town council voted unanimously to increase this year’s staff appreciation bonus to $350 Heart of Alberta dollars.
The move, however, wasn’t without debate during town council’s Nov. 20 meeting.
“The workplace culture is superior,” said CAO Greg Switenky. “They never expect it,” added Switenky, about the annual holiday bonus.
Coun. Al Campbell disagreed.
“They don’t expect it?” asked Campbell. “I think it’s something they expect. The perception out there is that these guys are well compensated for what they do. In light of the time we are in, I think we need to take a hard look at this.”
Mayor Sean Nolls had a different perspective, saying that because of the workplace culture, working for the town is less a job, and more a career.
“You can never cut the tension with a knife in the office, or at the shop,” Said Nolls, speaking on how positive the work environment is for the town employees.
Coun. Malcolm Fischer had an entirely different take on the situation. He said that in January and February, the months after Christmas, retail everywhere slows down. These Heart of Alberta Dollars can be used to give local retailers a boost.
“This is money spent in Stettler, I like that,” said Fischer, before making a motion to increase the bonus to $350 Heart of Alberta Dollars for this year.
The Heart of Alberta dollars Christmas bonus began in 2007, with all full-time employees receiving $250 in Heart of Alberta Dollars. Part-time employees receive a pro-rated amount. The following year, the amount was reduced to $200, before increasing back to $250 the year after that. The bonus remained capped at $250 until 2011, where it remained for two years. The annual bonus has been at $325 since 2013.
“Stettler dollars also work well as a contribution to the food bank,” said Switenky, when saying that the town employees are also champions of the community, and a portion of the Christmas bonus funds do end up going to various charities in town.
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