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Save additional employee talk for budget hearings

Harrison County Maintenance Supervisor David Simon no doubt needs some help keeping up with the three new government buildings on the old Harrison County Hospital campus. The county council should not, however, hire any new employees outside of its budget deliberation time frame, in July and August.
The council made it an unwritten rule to not hire employees ‘ nor to even look at raises for employees ‘ outside of that time to make it easier on additional appropriations and the county general fund, which can take quite a hit in the middle of the year when an employee is added to the payroll.
Plus, budget sessions allow plenty of time for one-on-one debate with department heads about the need for new employees and the ability to research the potential added positions.
Simon is requesting two part-time employees to help clean the Government Center, Purdue Building and Health and Education Building. As it stands, Simon has five full-time custodians, but only two for the three buildings along Atwood Street that total about 87,000 square feet. There’s no doubt that it’s significantly understaffed. To make up for it, until next year when the council could add a new part-time employee or two, it should provide funding in the part-time line already in Simon’s budget.
The help is needed, but it’s just another expense added to the $15 million government complex budget. Simon wouldn’t need the help if the facilities weren’t added to the government’s rolls.
The council will have the opportunity to vote on the part-time employees, a $40,000 additional (includes $10,000 for the regularly budgeted part-time line), at Monday’s upcoming meeting.
A couple of council members expressed the desire to pursue the cost of hiring a private cleaning company for a portion of the facilities. Simon doesn’t like the idea, but he has agreed to research prices of contracted cleaning work. It certainly would be easier to terminate a one-year contract with an outside contractor than it would be to eliminate a budgeted position if things didn’t go as planned.
The council should provide Simon with the help he needs, but it shouldn’t discuss adding any employees until the proper time.

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