(LFC Comments: We thank Mr. Brichacek for his prompt response to our follow-up email, and the details provided supporting payroll totals. So that we can provide TOTAL transparency to the citizens of Willoughby Hills, we are displaying the complete email sent to us with the supporting documents. We offer no opinion on the details, since that is in the purview of the Willoughby Hills residents. We are merely the facilitators of getting the requested information, and providing the forum to distribute the information.)
Dear Mr. Massie,
This is a partial response to the email that you sent to Mayor Gardner on June 18, 2020 which included an attached letter to me dated June 17, 2020. First of all, let me clarify that the response that you received dated June 11, 2020 to your request dated from May 28, 2020 was from Mayor Gardner, not from me. I understand your confusion as Mayor Gardner’s letter did incorporate information that was provided to him by me.
I would also like to emphasize that the City’s records are transparent. The City values the integrity of its financial reporting and any financial information it provides to the public. As such, the City’s records are available for your review either during regular business hours at City Hall or by accessing the City’s website or by accessing the State Treasurer’s Ohio Open Checkbook website. Since 2014, the City has posted all of its monthly financial reports on the City website. The State Treasurer’s Open Checkbook website may also be accessed from the City’s website.
- The 2020 reported salary in Mayor Gardener’s June 11th letter was correctly reported at $70,717.71. Hopefully the following additional information will clear up your confusion:
- Pension pickup is not considered to be salary.
- Under the rules of the Ohio Public Employee’s Retirement System (OPERS), Longevity compensation is considered to be earnable wages subject to pension contribution.
- The $721 pension pickup amount reported to you is computed as follows:
- Salary of $70,717.71 plus Longevity Compensation of $1,400.00 = $72,117.71 Earnable Wages.
- $72,117.71 X 1.00% = $721.18 or $721 rounded to the nearest dollar.
- There was no amount included in the June 11, 2020 response for either the employer’s OPERS, Medicare or Worker’s Compensation expenses because you did not ask for that information. Additionally, these items are not typically considered to be part of an employee’s compensation package because these amounts are required to be paid by law and are not paid to the employee. There was no attempt to hide the fact that the City incurs these expenses. Based upon 2020 Budgeted Salary of $72,117.71, the employer expenses for these items are:
- OPERS 14% Expense – $10,097
- Medicare 1.45% Expense – $1,047
- Workers Compensation – $1,776
- To the best of my knowledge, the attached schedule details the calendar year expenses incurred by the City for the years 2018, 2019 and Budget Year 2020.
- When reviewing this schedule, please bear in mind that the back wages and benefit reimbursements for the period May 1, 2018 through January 5, 2019 that were paid to Mrs. Majeski as a result of an order from the Ohio State Employee Relations to the City as a result of the Unfair Labor Practices complaint filed by the AFSCME local are included in Mrs. Majeski’s 2019 W-2 wages.
- To comply with your request to compare 2018, 2019 and 2020 Budget Calendar Year Wages and benefits, the 2019 W-2 Wages have been reduced by the 2018 Settlement Payment and the 2018 Settlement Payment has then been added to the 2018 W-2 Wages.
- A reconciliation of the 2018 and 2019 W-2 Wages to the 2018 and 2019 Calendar Year Wages is included on the bottom of the attached schedule.
Executive Assistand Annual Payroll Costs
- Since you unfortunately feel that the figures provided to you were suspect, I have enclosed copies of the Wage Maintenance Report generated by the City’s payroll system to substantiate the wage amounts listed.
- The AFSCME Labor agreement was sent to you yesterday under separate cover.
Relative to the items requested in your letter dated June 17, 2020:
- Personnel File – Staff is currently in the process of making copies of the items in Mrs. Majeski’s personnel file. The copies should be available to you sometime next week.
- A copy of the only job description for the Executive Assistant position that is on file in the Finance Department is included in the attachment. I am not aware of the existence of any earlier versions of this job description. Job descriptions were developed under the supervision of the Mayor’s Office. You may want to contact Mayor Gardner to determine if copies of any job description created prior to the one provided exist in the Mayor’s Office. Job Description for Executive Assistant
- Correspondence between the city employee, Mayor or Law Director or Assistant Law Director and Tony Miller from June 1, 2019 through present – No such record exists in the Finance Department nor am I aware of the existence of any such correspondence. I would recommend that you contact the Mayor and the Law Director to determine if copies of any such correspondence exist in their respective offices.
With the exception of providing a copy of Mrs. Majeski’s personnel file, this response completely addresses your public records requests dated June 19 and June 17, 2020. If you disagree, please contact me.
Frank J. Brichacek, Jr.
Director of Finance
City of Willoughby Hills, Ohio
35405 Chardon Road
Willoughby Hills, OH 44094