Retirement benefits for city employees called to war in the Persian Gulf will be taken care of, Mayor Joe Jenkins said Tuesday.

"It's always been our intent that none of our employees would suffer because of Desert Storm," Jenkins said.Some council members two weeks ago questioned the city administration's commitment to the 12 city employees placed on active military duty. Jenkins, who missed that meeting March 5, said he could have cleared up any concerns had he been there.

Councilman Ben Porter, who two weeks ago demanded the city compensate soldiers, wanted to make sure Tuesday that retirement benefits would not be cut off after an employee had been away four months.

Jenkins said he would make sure the 12 would be covered.

The mayor said when call-ups were first made, the city did not know how to handle the situation because there are no guidelines regarding the issue.

The city decided to promote voluntarism by inviting employees to donate the compensation for a vacation day to fund to help families get by. Jenkins said it helped city employees play a part in the war effort. The city collected about $13,000. There are several thousand dollars left, he said.

To date, two of the 12 called to war have returned. And Jenkins said five of the 12 are making the same or more money with the military than they did with the city.

As others come home, their needs will be taken care of, the mayor said.