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County explores creating HR position

Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

Harrison County Commissioner Charlie Crawford approached the council at its meeting Monday night with hopes of establishing a committee to begin the process of possibly creating a human resource position for the county.

The committee, Crawford hoped, would be the county auditor, county attorney, the council president and the commissioners’ president. His hope is the committee could establish a document to define the responsibilities of the position, along with salary.

The council was divided on the importance of this position, whether it would be worth the cost to hire someone for these responsibilities or not.

Currently, the county auditor’s office fields questions from county employees regarding payroll or human resource questions.

“This position would be an HR professional,” council chair Donnie Hussung said. “If the question is what is this going to cost us, well, think about what it will cost us if we don’t hire someone for this. We are a county with over 200 employees. Look at any manufacturing company with over 200 employees and they have an entire HR department. I think this is long overdue.”

The council unanimously voted to have the committee begin a research phase for the position.

The Public Defense Commission also came before the council to explain it will locate in the current Harrison County Parks Dept. offices in the government center as long as the council approves.

Harrison Superior Court Judge Joseph (Joe) Claypool said they intend to be in the office by Jan. 1.

No renovations or major construction will need to be done, as the office setup is already how the Public Defense Commission will want it. This allowed the Commission to decrease the amount of funds it needs allocated to the budget, lowering it from approximately $600,000 to $565,504.

Councilman Gary Byrne made a motion, seconded by Ross Schulz, to approve these funds. The motion passed 7-0.

Attorney H. Lloyd (Tad) Whitis, along with Tom Tucker, president of the Harrison County regional sewer district, approached the council with hopes of revisiting a previous agreement between the county and the Town of Corydon.

In 2006, the Town of Corydon and the county entered into an inter-local cooperation sewer service agreement. Because there was no regional sewer district board established at the time the agreement was written, the county was the other party involved in an agreement for the town to accept and treat the affluent in the area.

However, now that the Poplar Trace subdivision is being built west of Corydon, which will bring along new sewer district customers in this area, the issue of who these customers belong to came to a head.

According to Tucker, the town was under the impression that the residents of that subdivision, located west of Corydon-Ramsey Road, would have to follow the town’s rules. While in fact, the residents will be customers of the sewer district, which will then pay the Town of Corydon its respective fees, he said.

Because the subdivision, under the agreement made in 2006, is currently in the county’s control, Whitis and Tucker were asking the council to sign a new agreement turning those customers over to the sewer district.

Tucker said they already act as their customers, but this document will verify that to all parties.

The council agreed to support this but believe Whitis and Tucker needed to approach the Harrison County Board of Commissioners and follow the correct order of procedures before they could sign off on it.

The sewer district requested to be added to the Dec. 28 council meeting agenda with hopes of getting this agreement finalized after meeting with the commissioners next week.

Also at the meeting, Teresa Sutton, the Posey Township trustee, approached the council regarding her concern with receiving money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. She said she has spent about $14,000 on families in her township who were unable to pay bills or other expenses due to COVID-19-related issues.

She has contacted eight of the other 11 township trustees but only one other trustee responded to her that they had expenses due to COVID.

Councilman Kyle Nix explained to Sutton that the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs has awarded additional COVID-19 relief funding, which could be a possibility from where she could receive grant funding to help her depleting account balances.

Sutton said she would inquire about that grant option to see if it can help.

The council’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 28, at 7 p.m. at the government center in Corydon.