Policy change ends transfer station boss' vacay pay

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Former selectman and transfer station boss Ronal Patch (Lebanon Voice file photo)

LEBANON - A policy change approved by selectmen in 2010 that allowed full-time benefits for town workers who put in just 25 hours a week has been reversed unanimously by the current board.

The decision was made on Thursday and changes the number of hours needed to trigger full-time benefits to 35.

The change in 2010 was instituted after transfer station manager and then-selectman Ronal Patch asked to have the policy changed so he could work fewer hours and maintain town benefits.

In a March 23 article, Patch told The Lebanon Voice, "I wrote to selectmen and wanted them to cut it down and they said OK."

When asked if he remembered signing the document back in 2010, Patch said no and added he couldn't remember if he was selectman at the time of the change, either.

In fact, Patch, along with former selectmen Robert Frizzell and Jason Cole signed the document, which became effective on May 4, 2010.

Patch doesn't put in for health or dental benefits from the town, but does get annual leave, or vacation pay. He is also entitled to 12 paid holidays yearly.

In fiscal year 2013-14 he pocketed roughly 167 hours of vacation pay for almost $2,700.

Patch has defended his request to reduce the full-time benefits hourly threshold, and declared he didn't see it as any conflict of interest.

Current Selectmen Chairman Ben Thompson said there were no minutes that indicated selectmen in 2010 had discussed and voted on the change, just a personnel policy file that indicated the change and was signed by all three.

Patch, who as transfer station manager oversees a handful of employees, including his wife, a brother and occasionally a grandson, gets $16 an hour. The other workers get $13.28

Thursday's policy change actually increases the threshold three hours from the 32 hours required prior to the 2010 decrease.

A phone message left Patch at the transfer station today by The Lebanon Voice was not immediately returned. Patch normally works about 29 hours a week.

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