City of Clarksville extends premium pay to retired/deceased employees, identifies 85 eligible individuals
CLARKSVILLE, TN - The City of Clarksville is expanding ARPA premium pay to retired employees, as well as the families of deceased employees who worked between March 2020 and March 2022.
Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts said the points made by Councilperson Travis Holleman at a special session on Monday, Sept. 19., helped him to reconsider his stance on the issue of premium pay.
“For me, this issue has never been a question of ‘Do we want to include these former employees and their families?’ Of course we do. The real question was how can we do so in a responsible and effective manner that reaches the right people,” said Pitts. “But, we hear people’s concerns, and, with our stellar team, we are going to answer them.”
At this time, the City has identified 76 retired and nine deceased employees who will be eligible for premium pay.
How much will it cost?
The cost of the additional premium pay is approximately $430,000, most of which will be covered by the $388,281 remaining ARPA funds, according to Laurie Matta, Chief Financial Officer for the City of Clarksville.
The additional $41,719, if needed, will require a budget amendment be brought to City Council; however, Matta said her department would wait to draft an amendment until the total number of eligible employees has been finalized.
Of the $388,281 remaining ARPA funds, $250,000 had been intended for a new greenspace project. That project will no longer move forward.
How will it work?
In order to inform eligible employees and their families, the City of Clarksville will send letters to their last known addresses. Those letters are expected to be sent out later this week.
Once the letters are sent out, eligible employees will have 30 days to respond and confirm their identity.
In the case of deceased employees, beneficiaries will need to provide documentation proving they are the legal heir of the employee in question.
While no official date has been set at this time, checks are expected to go out in mid-November to eligible employees who respond by the deadline.
“We need to make sure we get this right.”
Matta noted that, while she and her team are up to the task, identifying and contacting eligible employees has a number of unique challenges.
The first hurdle is finding eligible employees, many of whom will have changed addresses since their employment with the City.
Additionally, those employees and/or their family members will need to verify their identities in order to ensure that the correct individuals are receiving the funds.
According to Matta, any returned or uncashed checks become unclaimed property, requiring them to be turned over to the state. This scenario makes it all the more important that money makes it to the right hands.
“It’s complicated,” said Matta. “We want to do what’s right for our employees, especially those who gave so much to the city during the COVID pandemic, but we also have to do right by the taxpayers. We need to make sure we get this right.”
“If you’re one of those 85 employees, we ask for your cooperation and thank you for your patience,” added Pitts.
Eligible employees who retired between March 1, 2020 and March 1, 2022, and family of employees who died during that time frame, can email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about premium pay.