Council likes idea of employee of month

by Joni Astrup
Associate editor
Elk River City Council members are interested in dipping into their own wallets to launch an employee recognition program.
Council Member Nick Zerwas pitched the idea during a council work session Monday, July 11.
He proposed an employee of the month program and suggested council members donate $120 each to fund it. That would carry the program for a year, with the money being used to buy a $50 gift card from a local restaurant for each employee of the month.
“I like it,” Council Member Jerry Gumphrey said of the idea.
Mayor John Dietz said the idea came up when he was visiting a local business and the owner mentioned how important it was to have an employee of the month.
“I think it’s a great idea and a small way to show the employees that we care about them and we’re willing put our checkbooks on the line for it,” Dietz said.
Zerwas said the state auditor prohibits the city from spending city funds on employee recognition events or programs.
For instance, the city is having an employee appreciation picnic later this summer but it is a potluck — including someone bringing plates and disposable silverware — because the city cannot use any funds for the picnic, Zerwas said.
Since it is also against state law to fund an employee-of-the-month-type program with city funds, Zerwas’ proposal to collect donations from the council would be one way to finance it, he said.
There was consensus among council members to proceed with the program. Some guidelines will be prepared before the program is implemented.

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