The Kilgore City Council adopted a wellness initiative as city policy by unanimous vote at Tuesday’s meeting.

The proposal was introduced by Kilgore Public Library Director Stacey Cole, who formed a Wellness Committee with Human Resources Director Michele Kincaid and City Clerk Rachel Rowe to draft the policy. It was presented to the council for review several weeks ago and reworked with their feedback, she said.

“We ran it by our city manager and our city attorney and we are seeking your approval to add this program and add this policy to our employee handbook,” Cole said to council members.

“In order to improve the overall health and productivity of our civilian workforce, the City of Kilgore has an established wellness initiative for all full-time civilian staff,” the policy reads.

According to the plan, each month, employees will be eligible to receive up to 1 hour of wellness incentive leave after completing 12 or more activities.

Qualifying activities can include regular doctor visits, dental cleanings or logging 10,000 steps per day in a fitness track, among others.

When awarded, the wellness incentive leave hours will be added to the employee’s vacation leave bank after being verified by the wellness committee.

Employees who qualify for all three Monthly Wellness Awards in a quarter (January-March; April-June; July-September; October-December) will be eligible for one additional bonus hour of wellness leave per quarter. At the end of a year, an employee can potentially earn up to 16 hours of leave time.

Mayor Ronnie Spradlin recommended adding in an automatic review period for Policy 970 to rework the program and “fine tune” it over time.

“I think it would be good to be able to change it if problems arise because we don’t have a frame of reference for it, we’ve never done it before. That would be smart,” Cole agreed.

City Manager Josh Selleck recommended bringing the policy back up for review at a regular council meeting in April 2023, noting it may take some time for city employees to fully adopt the program.

Council member Merlyn Holmes made a motion to adopt the new policy, and it was seconded by council member Victor Boyd, with the addition of the two-year review policy. All members voted for the policy.

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