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Former matron asks for 50 comp days

Harrison County Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye asked the Harrison County Board of Commissioners Tuesday evening, Feb. 22, for guidance on the approval of more than two months of requested hours to be paid for former jail matron Joyce Deatrick, wife of the former sheriff, G. Michael Deatrick.
Seelye made the request at the commissioners’ first meeting in the new council/commissioner room in the Government Center in south Corydon. Commissioners Chairman James Goldman officially welcomed everyone to the new building after the meeting was called to order.
‘It’s a nice facility, and we’re proud of it,’ Goldman said.
The meeting room is set up similar to the one in the downtown courthouse, but, instead of pews for audience seating, it has individual chairs. The sound system also may be more efficient. The room is the first one on the right after entering the building, which is the old Harrison County Hospital along Atwood Street, through the main entrance. An open house for the entire government complex will be held at a later date to be determined.
Joyce Deatrick, who served as the matron during much of her husband’s two terms in office, requested 235 vacation hours, 176.5 compensation hours and 85 sick hours owed to her from the sheriff’s department, Seelye said. He said the office was unable to verify any of the hours by looking at Deatrick’s time sheets.
Goldman said compensation time is only granted when it’s requested and the commissioners approve it.
‘If they don’t request it, we have no choice but to deny it,’ Goldman said.
Auditor Karen Engleman said no one else in the county receives payment for sick days, but the previous sheriff’s administration had been doing it.
‘And the auditor’s office was paying it?’ Goldman asked.
‘That’s what they told me,’ Engleman said.
County attorney John E. Colin said the current county handbook allows for 96 hours of vacation to be paid. He also said the 85 sick-day hours would fall under the 96-hour limit and could be approved. The rest of the requested vacation hours ‘would be in excess of what the current policy would provide,’ Colin said.
Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes said it appears the county is bound by its employee handbook. He then made a motion to approve 96 vacation hours and 85 sick hours and to deny the 176.5 compensation hours. Commissioner Jim Klinstiver seconded.
‘The real issue is there’s no money in the budget to pay for this without an additional,’ Goldman said.
Seelye said, for now, he’ll take the money out of the police chief’s funding line then come back later for an additional when the line runs short.
Before seconding the motion, Klinstiver asked if Deatrick had any options on the other hours that were not approved.
‘She has none,’ Goldman said.
The county is currently working on a new employee handbook, and Goldman said that sick hours should be used, or lost, and it will be addressed in the handbook.
The board also passed an additional of $11,500 to the council for training for the sheriff’s department.
‘There’s a lot of training we need to catch up on,’ Seelye said.
In other business, the board directed county engineer Kevin Russel to ask the owners of the 14-acre property that was once the Oldcastle precast if they would be willing to pay for a phase one environmental study. The county has shown interest in purchasing it for the highway department.
‘I don’t want to be negative on the project, but I definitely don’t want to buy a problem,’ Klinstiver said. ‘So, I definitely want to do this (environmental study) before that.’
The cost of the study will be about $2,000 to $3,000.
‘Personally, I think that’s who should be responsible,’ Goldman said of the property owners.
The commissioners, at their previous meeting, withdrew a request of $700,000 to the county council to purchase the property.
Mathes advised Colin to study the legal description of the easement for the property and report back at the commissioners’ next regular scheduled meeting, which will be Monday at 8:30 a.m.
The board agreed to allow Lola Materna to distribute Patient Assistant Discount Cards in Harrison County. The cards provide an average discount of 57-1/2 percent for prescriptions. Materna said the free cards will be available immediately and there’s no obligation for the county. She said everyone qualifies for the card, no matter their age or income. Materna said the company makes a profit with fees from the pharmacies. The cards will be placed at Harrison County Community Services in Corydon, the auditor’s office and other places, she said.
Goldman said they’ll get an estimate on how many cards the county needs and get back with her.
The board passed the following additionals on to the county council: $489,000 for resurfacing the roads at Hayswood Nature Reserve west of Corydon; $135,883 for a wheel loader for the highway department; $47,500 for cartographer Ralph Schoen for a county imaging program; nearly $30,000 for Harrison County Animal Control Officer Bruce LaHue for a new truck and dog containment box; $16,800 for a fiber-optic connection line between the courthouse, Government Center and justice center; $4,041.30 for the remainder needed for a copy machine for Superior Court Judge Roger D. Davis; and $5,000 for overtime for Recorder Barbara Best.