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River Heights to pay $14K to employee for retirement fund mistake

February 16th, 2012 Posted in Opinion

By Sean O’Sullivan

RIVER HEIGHTS – The city of River Heights will be writing a compensation check for $14,000 to Public Works Director Clayten Nelson.

Councilman Doug Clausen said Nelson was misled by his predecessor into believing that his Utah Retirement Systems account would continue to have money added to it. However, River Heights’ personnel policy states that River Heights does not offer retirement.

Cities can sign up with Utah Retirement Systems to have a retirement policy, but small cities generally don’t. Under Utah Retirement Systems, the city is obligated to pay an extra 10 percent or more to each employee for their retirement account. Clausen said small cities generally can’t afford to do this.

Once it became clear that Nelson wouldn’t be receiving retirement pay, something had to be done for the two and a half years he was under a different impression.

“It’s a back payment check for $14,000,” said Clausen, who brought this issue up before the council.

Nelson will have the choice to take it all this year or to break it up for tax purposes, Clausen said.

The Council also gave Nelson a 20 percent raise, bringing his pay to $28.84 per hour from $24.04 per hour.

In other business, the council decided to change the date of this year’s Apple Days, River Heights’ premier city festival. Apple Days was scheduled to be held on Sept. 8 this year; however that day conflicts with another big event in Cache Valley.

“The eighth is a no-go because it’s a Utah State game,” said Councilwoman Dixie Wilson, who is in charge of parks and recreation. Utah State University’s football team will be hosting the University of Utah football team, and the game is sure to be popular. Wilson said Apple Days can’t happen on Sept. 15 either because it would clash with the Top of Utah Marathon.

The council decided to hold Apple Days on Sept. 22, even though there may be a slight problem with that date as well.

“We may be pushing the weather a little bit,” said Councilman Rich Okelberry.


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