WARSAW — Commissioners approved a resolution regarding vacation extension and leave bank availability for county employees at the Kosciusko County Commissioners meeting Tuesday, April 14.
County Auditor Michelle Puckett said in the last two weeks there have been issues when processing payroll in trying to keep an eye on how earned comp time is used.
Each individual employee has a different set of circumstances, Puckett said.
“With that, this policy was drawn up for that specifically, saying that for somebody who is staying safe at home currently can be paid two-thirds of their pay,” Puckett said. “If they wish to supplement the one third, they can use whatever leave banks they have earned.”
Puckett said this empowers employees to use whatever time they’ve earned in whatever way they choose.
The leave bank availability policy does state that due to the policy of two-thirds pay, if an employee chooses to supplement their two-thirds pay, they must first use emergency comp time earned and then any other leave banks of their choosing.
Puckett said the other question has been whether employee vacation time that is set to expire could be extended to Dec. 31.
“I fully support this 100 percent,” Puckett said.
The resolution states that the Commissioners believe it would be reasonable to extend the expiration date regarding unused vacation time and also that it would be helpful to provide guidance regarding usage of bank time to supplement the two thirds pay previously provided under Resolution No. 20-03-31-001. Two policies were enacted under the resolution,
The policy related to vacation time states that unused vacation time that would normally expire on an employee’s anniversary date will now expire on Dec. 31, 2020.
Next, a procedure was approved regarding steps needed if a courthouse employee tests positive for COVID-19.
County Administrator Marsha McSherry contacted a professional cleaning company that could clean that necessary office space used by the employee.
The approved procedure states that Human Resources should work with the county health department to complete a case investigation. This minimally will require the following:
- The county administrator will instruct housekeeping to sanitize the positive individual’s work station using all precautionary measures.
- Determine which employees had been in close contact with the positive individual. The CDC defines close contact as a person that has been within six feet of the infected individual for a prolonged period of time. The close contact is based on the prior two weeks. Close contact individuals should be advised to leave the workplace and self-isolate at home. They should also contact their own doctor immediately.
- The health department will determine when close contact individuals may return to the workplace.
- Respect the confidentiality of both the positive-tested employee and anyone in the close contact group.
- Discuss with any employees remaining at the workplace the importance of maintaining a six foot barrier between themselves and all other people.
- Sanitize hands often.
- Sanitize work stations daily.
On March 31, a motion was approved to extend the county offices’ closure for two weeks, provided that it was not greater than the Governor’s extension, and to keep county offices closed to the public for one additional week following the reopening of county offices.
Commissioner President Brad Jackson reiterated today that they intend to stick with this plan. If the Governor does not extend the Stay-At-Home Order and everything resumes to normalcy on April 21, county offices will be open for all team members but closed to the public for another week, Jackson said. If the Governor does extend the Order for another two weeks, the county will follow that two-week closure order.
Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation CEO Alan Tio, although not in attendance at today’s meeting, made contact via phone and was put on speaker. Tio asked commissioners to supply a ‘letter of need’ for OCRA funding to be used for loans to local businesses to support job retention.
Tio said the county would be the applicant while KEDCo would be the subrecipient of the funding. The loans would be at 0 percent interest and can be somewhat forgivable on a case by case basis.
“This is if we are successful,” Tio clarified. “I’m sure there are a lot of requests from other communities.”
Kosciusko County Chief Deputy Sheriff Shane Bucher received permission to purchase a new patrol pickup truck. Although Bucher was informed by dealerships that plants are shut down due to the pandemic, he told commissioners they were able to find a 2019 Ram on a lot for $30,145. Bucher described the vehicle as being similar to the one approved for the county animal control officer a few months ago. The person who will be using the vehicle is a firearms instructor and SWAT team member, and Bucher said the vehicle will be set up perfectly for his needs.
Kosciusko County Superior Court 1 Judge David Cates received permission to make changes to the 2019-2020 Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) grant. Cates said expenditures need to be modified due to the current circumstances with the pandemic. There is no dollar amount change to the grant, Cates said, but some things need to be moved around such as moving money from mentoring to equipment.
In other news:
- McSherry presented a quote for a cell phone system booster for the basement of the justice building in the amount of $7,749 by Cottage Watchman Security Systems. Commissioners approved this.
- Maggie Brauer received permission to apply for an Adult Drug Court & Veterans Treatment Court Discretionary Grant through the Bureau of Justice Assistance in the amount of $500,000 to help pay for services.
- The next regular meeting will be at 9 a.m. April 28.