LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — In nearly three weeks, the City of Little Rock will have a change in leadership. Mark Stodola has been in the position for 12 years and says he’s accrued 2,200 vacation hours. That totals to nearly $175,000.
The subject was a big debate at Tuesday night’s city board meeting. The city board members were questioning who approved 12 years of Stodola’s unused vacation hours to roll over time and time again? “What has happened here is for, I think, accounting reasons, I’m not sure, they have just carried over the mayor’s vacation, and it’s now up to around 2,200 hours,” said city attorney Tom Carpenter.
Back in 2007, when Stodola was first elected mayor of Little Rock, it was the first time the mayor was considered a full-time city employee. So, a new benefits package was put in place, and it was to mimic the highest paid employee who was at the time was the city manager. That policy allowed the mayor to accrue 500 hours of unused vacation time. The city’s human resources director Stacey Witherell approached the podium at the board meeting saying, “what you have currently in place that was provided to the human resources department does not address what the 500 maximum amount is.”
That’s the problem. Since the wording was vague, city officials are left with a question: can the mayor can accrue 500 hours of vacation time at the end of each year or throughout their time in office? “From the standpoint of, yeah, you ought to have these things straightened out in 2007 when we switched over, it would have been nice to get all of that done. What had happened at that time is the human resources director and the mayor said down and said, these are the benefits. I just found out what they were like a week or two ago,” said Carpenter. The city board agreed they want to discuss this issue further but are given only a week to do so.
As for the nearly $175,000 the city supposedly owes Stodola, Carpenter says it will be taken out of a line-item in the city’s budget specifically for vacation payouts.