South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Crestwood board votes to expand employee wellness program

Aldermen vote 6-1 to approve budget amendment

Crestwood’s wellness program has been expanded to include all city employees, besides its police and fire personnel.

The Board of Aldermen recently voted 6-1 to approve a budget amendment that reallocates funds from the Police and Fire department budgets to the general services budget due to the program expansion. Ward 4 Alderman John Foote was opposed, while Ward 1 Alderman Mimi Duncan was absent from the Jan. 8 meting.

Though the item before the board did not directly relate the facility employees will use, Police Chief Mike Paillou conducted a soft survey with employees to determine their interest in the wellness program and where they would prefer to work out.

Based on the survey, half of the city employees would like to participate, and Crestwood’s Anytime Fitness “appears to be the better choice,” according to a memo Paillou provided to the board. Crestwood’s current wellness program designates All N 1 Fitness as its provider at $6,912 for 26 police officers and 22 firefighters, or $12 per employee, per month.

The program was originally intended for the fire department as part of a memorandum of understanding and was later expanded to include the police department.

To continue with All N 1 Fitness, the cost would remain the same. Anytime Fitness proposed covering “all city employees at a rate of $10 per month,” totaling $10,680 per year. With roughly half of the city employees expressing interest in the program, the cost would be $5,400.

But the board’s vote is on “where these dollars are going to be expensed in the budget,” according to Schlink, not the workout facility.

“The feedback that we get for the folks that do go to All N 1 Fitness has always been positive, so certainly nobody should read into that. This is simply — it was an option that was made available to employees, and this is the location that the employees selected,” Schlink said.

Foote told the board the city should retain its services with All N 1 Fitness because of its experience and because “they’re well known and well-liked in the city.”

“I think we have a certain obligation to them,” Foote said.

Jesse Finney, the owner of All N 1 Fitness, told the board to “go with Anytime.”

“They offer a good service, and they’re doing a good job,” Finney said. “At the end of the day if you tell me there’s going to be use in it 24 hours a day, good. I’ll believe it when I see it, but at the end of the day … we lost the business, but we greatly appreciated your guys’ help for the last two years.”

Ward 2 Alderman Tim Trueblood noted the city cannot require employees to take part in the wellness program, but those who do so would have “better health practices,” which “means they use less of our health insurance costs.” Trueblood asked if the city’s insurance carrier can officer rewards or incentives for better wellness.

Schlink said that issue was raised last year, but nothing occurred due to a timing issue.

Former Ward 3 Alderman Greg Roby asked the board if employees who do not work a 24-hour shift will be allowed to work out “on their duty time.”

Schlink said that option would not be available for such employees because they would be leaving their job for a work-out session. For employees who work 24-hour shifts, he said “there may be times now where someone’s watching TV, they could be out on a call at any second, but it’s the nature of their job.”

Acting City Administrator Karl Kestler told Roby it is “not as though our people are not responding to calls when they’re working out.”