Full time jail employees falling short of 40 hours per week are costing the county, magistrates said Monday, Feb. 14 at the court’s monthly meeting.
Employees should either hit their 40-hour marks or be re-classified as part-time, they lamented. The problem is, when exactly does a full time employee, one who falls short of the mandatory 40 hours, drop to part-time designation? District 2 Magistrate Daryl Flatt said the answer needs to be determined, and appropriate changes subsequently made to the county’s administrative policies.
The discussion began during the “committee reports” section of the agenda. Flatt, a member of the budget committee, said that he and the court’s other budget committee member, District 4 Magistrate Chris Reeder, had met with County Treasurer Melinda Quinn and Judge-Executive Gale Cowan between the court’s January and February meetings solely to review the jail budget.
“We figure that we’re about 14 percent over budget, right at $200,000,” Flatt explained, noting that salaries account for most of the overage. Full-time employees getting 36 hours, for example, enjoy insurance provided for 40-hour workers. Magistrates said some employees classified as full time consistently get fewer than 40 hours.
“If they’re not going to work 40 hours, we’re going to have to change them for that insurance somehow,” Reeder said. Reeder also pointed out that a 36-hour workweek leaves four hours—essentially half a shift—to be picked up by other employees, driving up unnecessary overtime pay.
“When they don’t get their 40, when do they drop back to part time?” Flatt asked, “because some of them are week after week [under 40]. If they’re collecting benefits for 40 hours, we need to get 40 hours.”
Court grants raises to employees paid monthly
In other business from the February meeting, District 5 Magistrate Billy Coffey raised an issue about county workers who were not included in the recently-approved $1.50/hour pay hike for county employees.
Judge Cowan explained that five county employees—the dog warden, county treasurer, an ABC official, and two deputy coroners—are paid by the month, not by the hour, and were therefore not included on the previously-approved bump in pay. Cowan recommended that these employees receive an increase of $100 each per month, at an annual cost to the county of $6,000.
“We’ve got enough money to handle it,” Coffey said, agreeing with Cowan’s suggestion.
District 3 Magistrate Sammy Baker moved to approve the $100/month raise, Harold Burton (District 1) seconded, and the measure passed 6-1. Flatt, the only dissenting vote, said he was not against the raise, but would have liked a chance to review the budget before voting to approve.
All seven magistrates were present for the meeting.