After an extended debate, the Kosciusko County Council approved county prosecutor Dan Hampton’s request for a lump sum payment to one of his employees.
A paralegal assistant in the office also functions as a deputy prosecutor and is currently paid at a paralegal’s salary. Hampton maintained that paying her as an attorney is an important step in continuing to build the quality of the staff in the prosecutor’s office and noted her skills well justify the payment.
“The private sector overwhelms what the prosecutor’s office can offer on the salary level. So if we can make it competitive, we can then keep key people in the office,” Hampton explained.
While the council was in general agreement with the principle of the idea, Hampton’s request to the council was to approve a lump-sum payment of $4,310 to the paralegal assistant, as compensation in recognition of her actual duties as a deputy prosecutor and her status as an attorney.
Councilman Bob Sanders expressed some concern with this approach, as the more than $4,000 figure represented not only work completed up to this point, but also the potential work to be completed in the rest of 2012.
“Why would we pay out in one lump sum before work is completed?” he asked.
He expressed concerns, citing the possibility that Hampton’s deputy prosecutor could become ill, incapacitated, or otherwise not meet the expected standards of the position after the money was dispersed.
Hampton noted that the lump-sum payment format was significantly easier for both the prosecutor’s office and the county auditor. All relevant taxes and Social Security deductions could be made at one time from the lump sum, which would prevent an otherwise tedious and necessary recalculation of every paycheck the deputy prosecutor would receive between now and the end of the year.
Hampton also reminded the council that this lump-sum payment would come out of the pre-trial diversion fund from the prosecutor’s office. This fund is comprised of dollars specifically generated by the prosecutor’s office, and would therefore not effect the county general fund.
Ultimately, the council chose to honor Hampton’s request after a motion by council member Jim Moyer, with a unanimous vote to approve. The council also approved several other transfer requests from Hampton, assisting him with the itemization of the pre-trial diversion fund into sub-accounts for the purpose of easier tracking of funds and clarification of expenditures.
Several other items were approved by the council tonight, including several transfers of funds requested by Scott Tilden, Kosciusko County Highway superintendent. Those funds were transferred from a bridge fund to an equipment fund.
County administrator Ron Robinson was also in attendance and presented a report to the council concerning the second roundabout to be constructed in the county. Though construction teams have experienced some difficulty early on with the roundabout location, Robinson expects that construction will be completed by the target date of Nov.16, perhaps even earlier. The new roundabout is to be placed at the intersection of Old U.S. 30 and Zimmer Road.
Robinson also updated the council concerning water damage found during renovations of one of the upper hallways of the courthouse. He recommended that a discussion be held at a future date concerning the implementation of a program for the funding of organized maintenance of county buildings.
Several abatement approvals for various Kosciusko county businesses which were on the agenda were tabled by a unanimous vote until the next regular county council meeting. That meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 12.