View Mobile Site

110 workers using interest free city loans for computers

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED May 10, 2013 1:51 a.m.

Thirty percent of Manteca’s 330 municipal workers take advantage of the city’s interest-free loan program to secure computers for their personal use.

The program was started in 1988 in a bid to encourage workers to acquire computers for home use so they could become more proficient using the technology. The theory was the more they used computers, the more they’d be efficient at work.

Launched on Nov. 12, 1988 under the leadership of then City Manager Dave Jinkens, the council at the time initially set aside $50,000 as a revolving fund. The loans were made interest free to city employees. The loans must be repaid within three years. Loans are set at a maximum of $3,000 with a $50 a month payroll deduction until the amount borrowed is paid back. Once money is returned, the same money is used to fund other computer loan requests.

There are currently outstanding computer loans to 110 municipal employees.

Even with $150,000 available in perpetuity, there is always a waiting list for the interest free computer loans that require the balance left to be deducted from an employee’s last check if they leave city service before the balance is paid.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin noted the 25-year program started at a time when much of the workforce was not computer literate.

She noted that original objective has diminished in importance. Instead, the interest free revolving loan program has proven extremely powerful in getting employees to become more efficient by using various forms of electronic device such as smartphones  and other electronic devices to “enhance connectivity” to conduct city business when needed from home or in the field. McLaughlin added only those employees who are exempt from hourly pay rules will use electronic devices from home to perform city work.

She noted not all city employees who use such electronic devices for city business purchase them through the city. She noted Police Chief Nick Obligacion, as an example, uses his own tablet when doing community presentations.

There are restrictions on what type of peripheral devices are eligible since the goal is to help encourage workers to become more computer proficient so it can sharpen their workplace skills.

Other California cities offer similar interest-free computer loans to employees as a benefit.

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...