COLLIER COUNTY — Suddenly reassigned Collier County housing director Marcy Krumbine has accumulated enough unused vacation and sick time to form a golden parachute that would carry her to the end of tenure with local government _ had she been hired two years earlier.
As it stands, Krumbine would have to show proof of actual illness to take full advantage of the more than 800 hours in sick time that’s gone unused in her 15 years of county employment.
County policy is that anyone hired before Aug. 2, 1994 is eligible to be paid for unused sick time. Those hired after that date _ Krumbine came on board in April of 1996 _ are not eligible for the payout.
So John Torre, director of the county communications department where Krumbine was reassigned after the practices of the housing department she headed were called into question by Clerk of Courts Dwight Brock and others, says he expects Krumbine to be busy until her announced separation date of Dec. 2.
If she chooses, Krumbine will be in a position to take 287 hours, or about seven weeks off during her remaining roughly 16 weeks on the job. That’s the amount of unused vacation time she’s accrued. Or, as she leaves county employment, she can cash that time in at her current salary, which was reduced to about $67,000 annually from the $93,000 she made as director of the county’s Department of Housing, Human and Veterans Services. County policy caps accrued vacation time at 440 hours, Torre said. Krumbine’s full vacation payout would be about $9,200.
The county’s policy on unused sick time for more recent hires contrasts with some high profile jobs, such as departing school superintendents who’ve raked in thousands of dollars in pay for unused sick time. Florida law allows employees of state government to cash in as many as 480 hours of unused sick pay at the end of their employment.
The county’s sick time policy states that if an employee has a problem that requires missing five consecutive days of work, the employee must provide a doctor’s certificate. “She hasn’t called in sick yet, so I don’t see this as a looming problem,” Torre said.
Torre said Krumbine’s duties leading up to Dec. 2 will include preparing documentation for the Emergency Management Department’s accreditation process and combing through the county’s 15,000-page web site looking for outdated information and dead links. “It’s a project we haven’t had the time to do recently,” Torre said. She’ll also help prepare the county’s 2012 legislative agenda.
The job Krumbine is filling is a position that had been budgeted for the Public Services Division but not filled, Torre said.
At the July 26 meeting of the county commission, Commissioner Tom Henning questioned employees in Krumbine’s department about payment invoices for work that hadn’t been done on houses the county is rehabilitating, a matter Brock’s office is investigating. Later it came to light Krumbine’s home might be purchased by a buyer using money supplied by a grant program administered by her department. The County Attorney’s Office signed off on the deal but Brock’s office remains skeptical. There were also concerns raised regarding housing department purchases from a company owned by an employee’s spouse.
Krumbine’s reassignment carried an aura of mystique, as she told her staff she was asked to resign but her immediate supervisor, Marla Ramsey, said she wasn’t _ exactly. “Not in so many words,” Ramsey told a reporter.
Henning said he hasn’t been briefed by the county manager, who makes personnel decisions for county government, and doesn’t know why Krumbine was moved to a different department only to be scheduled to leave a few months later. “It’s strange,” he said.
Commissioner Donna Fiala, who has also been critical of the housing department recently, said the Krumbine affair is a symptom of a poisonous atmosphere in and around county government these days. “We’ve been under fire from so many angles, we’re just walking on eggshells anymore. I don’t like all this jabbing and stabbing at one another. I want to be able to work things out in a way the whole community benefits.”
Asked how the community might benefit from a demoted department head moving to communications for four months, Torre answered, “What’s the disadvantage? There is work for her to do.”
Connect with Brent Batten at naplesnews.com/staff/brent_batten