|Fri, Aug 01, 2014 03:54 AM
June 18, 2014 | 02:38 PM
The Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday night officially approved the new personnel policy, including the cut from four personal days a year to two for county employees.
Commissioner George Ethridge said the majority of the employees he spoke with had a problem with the cut in days.
"I've gotten an earful," he said.
Ethridge said he was sticking with his opinion that the days should be cut to two. With 18 paid holidays, the possibility of having up to as much as 18 vacation days, six sick days and the county paying 95 percent medical insurance, Ethridge said he was still in favor of making the cut in personal days.
"I know it's a huge political hit," he said. "It's a decision made here. It's our call. We'll have to bear the brunt of that decision."
Ethridge said that when he ran for the office of commissioner, it was with the understanding that he would represent the taxpayers and the employees of the county and find a way to strike a balance. He said he thought the county council did a great job with the compensation and job description plan, which resulted in many positions seeing pay increases. He said the main argument he's heard for extra benefits, such as four personal days, was the employees are underpaid.
"I don't think they're underpaid anymore," Ethridge said, citing the study initiated by the council and conducted by an Indianapolis firm.
Ethridge said benefits are one-sided in county government compared to those in the private sector.
"It's unwise and unfair to ask them (private sector) to bear the brunt of these benefits that they don't get," he said.
Commissioner Jim Klinstiver said he's worked on both sides of the fence: in the private sector as a business owner and farmer where he received zero vacation days and for the state highway department where he racked up so many it was hard to use them all before retiring.
"I could argue they've earned it," Klinstiver said of the four personal days. "That was the deal they made with the commissioners at the time. I don't think their employment will depend on it."
Ethridge reiterated that employees will still have their four days for this year, and this part of the new policy won't take effect until Jan. 1.
"We don't want to take what people have already," he said.
The policy was unanimously approved.
In other matters, the board sided with the Harrison County Advisory Plan Commission and did not approve a change of zone for a maintenance building between Old Capital Golf Club and Tyson Foods. Instead, the board advised the potential buyer of the building to go to the board of zoning appeals for an exemption to take his semi-trailer diesel engine repair shop to the new location by purchasing the maintenance building from Harrison County Golf LLC.
The board approved a zone change to a Planned Unit Development (patio homes) on the north side of Country Club Road between Country Club Estates Drive and Smith Hill Road, in the area that is now a par-3 course at Old Capital Golf Club.
The board also appointed Kathy Shireman to the Harrison County Hospital Board of Trustees.
The next meeting of the commissioners will be Monday, July 7, at 8:30 a.m. at the Government Center in Corydon.