Topeka City Manager Reverses Snow Decision

Jim Colson

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - City of Topeka employees are getting a snow day after all - after the fact.

In his weekly report, City Manager Jim Colson said he was implementing a "retroactive Inclement Weather designation." The move basicallly means that employees who were unable to make it to work Thursday due to the winter storm will still be paid for the day. Those who made it to work will receive an extra day off.

Colson said the decision to close city offices is challenging. He says it is a "balancing act between providing services to the public and protection to our employees." In addition, he noted that many city employees have to work no matter what the weather conditions.

Topeka City Councilmember Chad Manspeaker was critical of Thursday's decision to keep city offices open, posting on his Twitter account Thursday morning that he was "not impressed." He posted that rather than being encouraged to use vacation and flex time, non-essential employees should have been told to stay home.

"Sad we would put their safety at risk," Manspeaker posted.

Colon said the decision for his retroactive designation came after much consideration and discussion. He said that, in his absence, Finance Director Pam Simecka was in the position to decide whether city offices would close.

Colson did not that working Thursday ensured organizational items such as payroll were not delayed.

Complete message from City Manager Jim Colson:
From the City Manager:

I want to thank all of the City employees who worked very hard over the last 24-36 hours. It is difficult to respond and plan according to predictions and estimates, but I believe our street staff and crews have done an exceptional job in removing the snow. I realize there is still work to be done, especially on the residential streets, and I know they are still working to assist our residents.

When there is the threat of inclement weather, it is a challenging decision and balancing act between providing services to the public and protection to our employees. In my absence, Pam Simecka, our Finance Director, was in the position to make such a call on whether or not to close City offices. Many of our employees have to work no matter what the conditions which makes the decisions more challenging.

Therefore, after much consideration and discussion, I am implementing a retro-active Inclement Weather designation.

By working yesterday, we ensured many vital organizational items such as payroll were handled and were not delayed.

Thank you for your dedication.

Jim Colson
City Manager