Barring City Council action, Durham's annual Employee Appreciation Luncheon will proceed as scheduled Feb. 10.
City Manager Tom Bonfield made the call in response to a memo last week from city councilman Eugene Brown suggesting the lunch be cancelled and honored employees get $100 each to save the taxpayers money.
Replying to Brown, Bonfield said the luncheon budget is $18,805 and that city operations continue as usual through the 2.5-hour event. Brown had estimated the cost at $45,000, counting direct expense and lost productivity.
Calling off the lunch, Bonfield wrote, would cost about $6,000 in a cancellation fee to the Marriott hotel, which has been booked for some time already. Facility rental and food costs are estimated at $7,695 for the 345 invited employees, and $7,170 for retirees' watches.
"Absent direction otherwise from the majority of the city council I believe it is appropriate to proceed with the employee recognition event," Bonfield concluded.
The City of Durham has about 2,300 employees, according to Chamber of Commerce figures.