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Greene County Council reviews personnel handbook

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Greene County Council members got a long-awaited first look at a draft of the County Personnel Policies Handbook on Monday, but voted to table action on the document that has been nearly 24 months in preparation.

Councilman Gene Hall, after hearing commissioner's attorney Marilyn Hartman and two representatives from the consulting firm of Waggoner, Irwin, Scheele & Associates Inc. of Muncie, made the motion to table a vote on the handbook to allow himself and fellow council members more time to read through it.

"I don't like things thrown in my lap at the last moment," Hall said before offering the motion to table a vote on the document. "It seems to me there are a lot of questions that needed answered,"

The county commissioners and county council have been working with the consulting firm revising the county handbook for nearly two years, something that hasn't been done for a decade.

Presently, there is a separate handbook for courthouse employees, employees in the prosecutor's office, the sheriff's department, ambulance service and the two court offices.

The consulting firm has come up with a main handbook to cover the courthouse, highway department, health department, veteran's service office and the extension service offices. They've also added appendices for the sheriff, ambulance service, and judicial offices.

Hartman, who has worked with the consultants to draft the employee handbooks since 2010, said about 80 percent of the language changes are being made to come into compliance with changes in federal laws governing the Fair Labor Practices Act, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and military leave.

The council extensively discussed changes in the compensation time in lieu of overtime policy for non-exempt county employees.

By a 4-0-2 vote the council agreed to change the time period for 'comp time' to be used from 60 days to one year. The new policy will also allow for no more than 40 hours to be rolled over to a new year and employees can accumulate a maximum of 80 hours.

This policy will be effective Jan. 1, 2013.

Council President Ed Cullison also wants County Auditor Matt Baker to put together a spread sheet that shows how much outstanding 'comp' time has been accrued by employees.

"I think we need to know how much comp time is out there. It's an unfunded liability," Cullison stated.

Other council members called on department heads to more closely monitor the amount of 'comp' time accumulated by employees and when necessary take steps to make sure the workers are taking the time off and not waiting to the end of the year when the comp time would have to be paid at the worker's hourly pay rate.

"I definitely think we need to put a limit on comp time and if they get to that point, then they have to take off," Councilman Hal Harp suggested. "The supervisor should be able to force the employee to take the comp time."

Councilman Ed Michael added, "At some point we have to trust our elected officials to do their jobs."

In other matters, the council:

* Approved a $1,300 additional appropriation out of the Adult Probation Administration Fees Fund for the Probation Department to pay FICA taxes for 2012.

* Approved a $3,000 additional appropriation out of the County General Fund for the Veteran's Service office to purchase a rebuilt engine for one of the department vans ($2,500) and $500 for fuel.

* Approved a $100,000 additional appropriation for the County Ambulance Service to pay for medical billing services for 2013. The money will come from the EMS Billing Services Fund. The council also approved various end-of-the year department transfers.

* Agreed to advertise for a $7,000 additional appropriation for the County Recorder's office to pay for the refurbishing of two records books out of the Recorder's Perpetuation Fund.

* Approved the 2013 salary contract for Sheriff Terry Pierce. Pierce will receive $78,048 -- which represents a 2.2 percent pay increase.

* Approved the following budget transfers requested by Sheriff Pierce -- $5,000 from deputies salaries to medical; $399 from deputies salaries to tires and tubes; $200 from longevity pay to tires and tubes; and $902 from holiday pay to tires and tubes.

* Approved a request from County Coroner Sherry Wilson to purchase a laptop computer at a cost of $655 with the application programs needed.

* Granted permission for the Greene County Health Department to apply for a grant through the Indiana Health Department Trust Account to purchase $13,400 in computer equipment and software updates.

The final council meeting of the year will be conducted at 4 p.m. on Dec. 10 in the third floor commissioner's meeting room at the county courthouse in Bloomfield.

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