Briski has accumulated 1,125 hours of unused vacation time.
Kevin Briski drew a fair share of criticism during his six-year tenure in Madison. But say what you want about the guy: he didn't take much vacation.
Briski, who will leave this summer to take a similar job in Melbourne, Florida, had accumulated as of Monday 1,125 hours of unused vacation time. Briski could still take some of this time before his last day, which has not yet been set.
If he doesn't take any of it, the city will owe him $69,000 for those unused vacation days, according to Brad Wirtz, the city's human resources director. Briski also stands to get $17,000 for unused sick pay, Wirtz says. The city reimburses up to 50% of unused sick pay.
Briski's contract gives him 27 days of vacation each year, the maximum amount that a city employee can get. His salary this year is just over $123,000.
Wirtz says that all city employees automatically carry over up to 10 days of unused vacation time each year. A supervisor must approve carrying over more than that -- in Briski's case the supervisor is the mayor, Wirtz says. Briski has worked under both Dave Cieslewicz, who was mayor when he was hired, and Mayor Paul Soglin. Soglin declined to comment to Isthmus about the policy.
Mayors routinely approve these requests, adds Wirtz, who has been head of human resources for seven years. "I've never seen a mayor deny any request to carry over vacation, since I've been here."
Wirtz is not aware of any other employee who has stockpiled as much vacation as Briski has. "It's really about whether or not you have time to take the vacation," he says.
Ald. Mike Verveer says these payouts have been an issue in the past. They come out of a department's budget, and often erase any salary savings a retirement might bring (i.e. new staff often make less than retiring employees who may have accumulated decades of seniority).
Briski did not immediately return a call for comment on Tuesday. When his retirement was announced, the city reported Briski's last day would be June 13. Wirtz says that day may be pushed back to August.
Ald. Joe Clausius, who is a member of the board of parks commissioners, says he's not surprised Briski rarely took time off. "He was a pretty dedicated employee, I thought," he says. "He did a lot for parks in Madison. As far as what vacation he took, that's each employee's prerogative."
A search for Briski's replacement is just getting started. Clausius, who sat on the committee that vetted Briski, hopes to serve on the committee that will recommend his replacement. He would like to see someone hired by the end of the year.