City of Orange updates disaster pay policy

Published 12:54 pm Saturday, September 22, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Hurricane Harvey has had a lasting impact on the area. As the seventh storm to strike the area since 2005, it also left the area flooded from the highest rain amount in the contiguous United States.

The conditions were extreme as citizens, first responders, and elected officials were all in need of rescue or trapped by the flooded roadways.

Under such conditions, city employees were prevented from attending work due to the disaster.

“Last year after Harvey I was contacted by several employees of the city seeking a representative of the council to hear their thoughts and feelings about the current disaster pay policy. I listened to their concerns and issues as well as researched how other local entities addressed the situation,” Orange mayor Larry Spears Jr said. “I truly felt that we had to do something to fix the issue and make changes to the current ordinance to best serve the employees and staff of the city.”

Disaster Pay Policy updated


Based on the policy in place, those individuals had to use vacation days to make up the difference in lost hours while facing the loss of their homes or while assisting other family members who had lost their homes.

With only 18-percent of the homes not affected by the storm, everyone either had a flooded home or knew someone who did.

“Once brought to the attention of the council, it was agreed upon that this situation was definitely an item that needed to be addressed. City Staff made the changes and brought the new procedure to us at the council meeting and the new policy was approved and passed,” Spears said. “I want what is best for the employees and their families.”

Under the new policy, an employee who is prevented from attending work due to an emergency or disaster, natural or manmade event, evacuation, or special event, shall maintain daily telephone or personal contact with his or her department head.

“We are here as elected officials from the community to do what is right and to improve the issues that can make a positive impact for the future well-being of this community,” Spears said. “I pray that we never have to implement the disaster pay policy ever again but if needed we are prepared and that means a lot.”