In one of his first acts as Governor, Bill Ritter clarified the Colorado employee benefits for state employees. In particular, Ritter documented policies for tracking and limiting annual and sick leave by department heads.
In the past, there had been some allegations that certain department heads misused their Colorado employee benefits. Some were allegedly out of the office more than they were in it. This was controversial in part because there was no formal tracking system to determine how much leave a department head had taken.
Gov. Bill Ritter recently signed an executive order establishing a fair and clear policy regarding the accrual, capping and tracking of annual and sick leave for department heads.
“This executive order sets forth clear and equitable guidelines for leave accrual, removing any ambiguities and placing the executive directors on equal footing with other state employees,” Gov. Ritter said. “These rules are fair and they protect taxpayer dollars.”
The order allows the 15 executive directors who head state departments to accrue 13.33 annual leave hours per month, or 20 days per year. Translated into workdays, that gives each department about a month to spend trout fishing, lying on the beach in Cozumel or pounding the cobblestones in Italy, as he or she prefers.
The recent executive order also allows for the accrual of 6.66 hours of sick leave per month, or 10 days per year.
The order also caps the amount of leave that a director can accrue without using it. For executive directors with fewer than five years of total Colorado state government service, the maximum accrual of annual leave is 192 hours (24 days). For those with five or more years of service, the maximum accrual is 240 hours (30 days). Once a state executive accrues that amount of leave, he or she will have to use additional leave by July 1 of each year, or lose it.
As far as sick time goes, the maximum accrual under the new policy for any executive director is 360 hours (45 days). This is true regardless of the number of years the executive director has served. Again, sick leave in excess of that amount will be forfeited each year on July 1.
The executive order requires department heads to track their annual and sick leave and report it in writing to the governor’s chief of staff. Records will be reconciled at least once a year.