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Under the bill, cities would be eligible to receive state grants to reimburse for replacement costs to replace the services of full-time public safety employees on military duty leave.
(Published Feb 20, 2013)
Representative Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth) and Senator Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) have introduced legislation, HF 699 and SF 457 that would establish a reimbursement grant program to assist local units of government with costs associated with full-time public safety employees on authorized leave with the National Guard, the officers' reserve corps, the enlisted reserve corps, the Naval Reserve, the Marine Corps reserve, or any other reserve component of the military or naval forces of the United States.
Under current law, cities must allow a leave of absence from the public office or employment without loss of pay, seniority status, efficiency rating, vacation, sick leave, or other benefits for all the time when engaged with such organization or component in training or active service ordered or authorized by proper authority pursuant to law, whether for state or federal purposes, but not exceeding a total of 15 days in any calendar year.
Under the bill, cities would be eligible to receive state grants to reimburse for replacement costs to replace the services of full-time public safety employees on military duty leave. Replacement costs are generally defined as the wages or salaries and benefit costs incurred by the local unit of government to replace the services of employees on authorized leave and can include overtime pay to other employees who fill in for those on leave . The legislation describes the overtime pay as being paid to “permanent full-time employees who provide services in addition to their ordinary duties,” which may leave this section open to interpretation as to whether all types of overtime would qualify. Other, non-public safety personnel would not be eligible for the grant program.
The adjutant general is required to prescribe the form and supporting information that must be supplied by the local unit of government as part of the application for state reimbursement. To receive a reimbursement grant, the city would be required to apply to the adjutant general by March 15. By July 15 of that year, the adjutant general shall pay the reimbursement grants to the local units of government.
The bill includes an open state appropriation for the costs of the grant program and the program would be effective for replacement costs incurred by cities beginning in calendar year 2013 and thereafter.
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