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County workers request change in pay frequency
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Saturday, December 08, 2012 4:05 AM
Jefferson County officials are looking at a new payroll schedule for county employees.
The Board of Commissioners on Friday received a letter from county workers who requested that the payment schedule be changed from 24 times each year to 26 times each year. Currently, all Courthouse employees are paid on the second and fourth Friday of the month, which sometimes causes pay gaps of more than two weeks.
Auditor Celeste Reed said the schedule was changed in the past because of a recording issue - that has since been fixed - with the Indiana State Board of Accounts. She added that the state agency had recommended that local governments switch the payments to 24 times each year.
"This was the only way to continually keep the books clean," Reed said.
County attorney Wil Goering said he was not aware if the State Board of Accounts had an issue with rescheduling the payments now that the recording problem has been corrected.
"Now that it's fixed, it actually shouldn't make any difference whether the employees get paid twice a month or once every two weeks, as far as the State Board of Accounts is concerned," he said.
The commissioners said they would take the request under advisement and possibly make a ruling at their next meeting.
"As long as it works out with the State Board of Accounts, I'm okay with it," Commissioner Tom Pietrykowski said.
Also at the meeting, commissioners approved a contract with Securus Technologies to provide video visitation services at the jail.
Through the service, those visiting inmates will be able to access the program through a remote Internet feed or at the jail. A fee will be required for those using a remote connection.
The service will be free to the county, and once Securus recovers its monthly operating costs, the county will receive 25 percent of the revenue earned.
The money earned by the county will then flow into the jail commissary fund, which is used to purchase items such as department vehicles and equipment.
Securus also handles the telephone services for the jail. Much like the phone conversations, all video visitations will be monitored - with the exception of attorney visits.
Jefferson County Sheriff John Wallace expects the program to go live after the first of the year.
In other business:
Bernie Murphy, interim director of the Economic Development Partners, gave his first report to the commissioners since taking the position in October. Murphy reported that EDP will begin giving participating government bodies quarterly reports to improve communication and transparency.
Since taking the job, Murphy said EDP has looked at bringing 10 new businesses to Madison, though he cautioned the board about the competitiveness of the market and the need to not disclose all details until deals are finalized.
"Of those 10, there are two that we feel like are good opportunities and that we are aggressively pursuing," he said.
Both businesses would bring about 50 jobs each, Murphy said.
Murphy added that EDP has visited several of the businesses around the city and county to "make connections" and "see where we can help."
Kathy Huffman, coordinator of work force development and EcO15 for EDP, reported that about 170 students recently participated in the first local Manufacturing Day, which was part of a national event.
Huffman said the next phase for EcO15 is to move students from high school to post-secondary education training for two- and four-year degrees in order to meet workforce demands.
Additionally, EDP is working with River Valley Resources Inc. to look at a post-graduate program. The summer training initiative would give students a step-up in interviewing for positions at local business, Huffman said.
"We've got one company that we're working with right now on a pilot, and hopefully we'll be able to pull that off by this summer," she said.
The county tabled a state mutual-aid agreement between county emergency management directors, but the contract could be changed.
The current agreement does not include language regarding reimbursement for volunteers who respond to emergency events outside of their county.
Dave Bell, Jefferson County's emergency management director, said he spoke with a state attorney who said that language would be added into the final document.
The commissioners decided to table the agreement until they see a new draft including a reimbursement clause.
Hanover resident Warren Auxier raised concerns about EDP billing and payment invoices.
Auxier said based on recent invoices, it appeared as though the city and county were billed for the same services.
"It's not clear if EDP is taking the work that they do and they are splitting it 50-50 between the county and the city, or if they're billing both of you for the same amount of work," he said.
The commissioners said they would look into the issue. Murphy also said he would look into the invoices, but added that he is not certain a mistake was made.
Earlier in the meeting, the commissioners approved an invoice for a quarterly payment of more than $16,000 to EDP. Auxier asked if the money already had been appropriated by the County Council. Reed said that it had.
The contract with EDP states that the county will pay $80,000 annually or 10 percent of the gaming fund - set up through an agreement with Switzerland County - whichever is less.
The Courthouse will be closed Dec. 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the county's annual Christmas party.
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