After same-sex marriage ruling, city of Decatur considers changing personnel policies
Since 2001 the city of Decatur has provided benefits to same-sex domestic partners.
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, making it legal in all 50 states. Given the recent changes, the City Commission will consider repealing its domestic partnership benefits policy during its July 6 regular meeting.
“The original purpose of the City’s domestic partner benefits policy has been accomplished by the Supreme Court decision since same-sex couples may now marry and receive the same City benefits that are offered to spouses as opposite-sex married couples without having to participate in the domestic partner benefits program,” Assistant City Manager Andrea Arnold said in a memo to commissioners. “Therefore, it is recommended that the City Commission repeal the domestic partner benefits policy that was adopted in 2001.”
Arnold said employees with same-sex spouses will be eligible for the same benefits as an employee with an opposite sex spouse.
“Employees currently participating in the domestic partner benefits program will be granted twelve months to be married to their domestic partner in order to continue receiving City spousal benefits,” she said. “In addition to the reasons stated above, the City’s labor attorney has recommended the policy change because the current domestic partner benefits policy could be subject to a discrimination claim if the domestic partner rights are only offered to same-sex partners.”
In other business, commissioners will consider:
– Approving an agreement with CSX worth $230,000 to improve the railroad crossings at McDonough and Candler streets. If approved by City Commissioners, construction could start in 2016.
– Approving $100,000 worth of change orders for two ongoing streetscape projects. Commissioners will consider approving a $60,000 contract increase for Oakhurst to “pay for reconstruction of about 90 linear feet of Oakview Road immediately south of East Lake Drive.” The $40,000 for the downtown Decatur streetscape improvements. According to Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon, the change order, “generally results from hidden conditions related to a leaking sanitary sewer in the 200 block of Church Street, filling an abandoned storm sewer with grout, restoration of deteriorated sections of Church Street and miscellaneous repairs to a couple of properties adjacent to the streetscape improvements.”
The July 6 City Commission meeting will begin with a 6:30 p.m. work session to discuss an update from the city’s Traffic Calming Committee. The regular meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. All meetings are held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street, and are open to the public.