CRESTVIEW — The City Council has unanimously approved department heads’ request to divide city employees’ Christmas party observances.


CRESTVIEW — The City Council has unanimously approved department heads’ request to divide city employees’ Christmas party observances.



The city’s budget includes $2,500 for one midday party for all employees. The annual tradition is a morale booster, Council President Robyn Helt said, adding she didn’t want to see employees segregated by department.



Fire Chief Joe Traylor expressed concern about paying for a party when employees must take 32 hours of furlough. "Would it be better to give a gift card so an employee can buy what they need?" he said.  



Councilman Shannon Hayes moved to spend $5,000 to buy some 220 employees a $20 gift card. The extra $2,500 could come from the city's contingency fund. He moved that the city spend $6,000 after Councilman Joe Blocker suggested a $25 gift card would be more generous.



Helt and Councilman Tom Gordon voted nay, defeating the motion; Mickey Rytman was absent. Gordon suggested holding an after-hours potluck that employees could attend with their families.



Blocker then moved to divide the budgeted $2,500 among the departments for separate observances, which passed unanimously.



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or brianh@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.