New county personnel rules could designate an administrator to play a role in disciplinary proceedings.

On May 16, legal advisor Lucille Turner of the Carson and Adkins law firm presented commissioners with a draft of proposed county personnel rules. On May 21, commissioners discussed the rules at a public workshop.

Turner said the proposed personnel code is based on informal policies already in use by the council.

“This will be good for employees because they can look to written rules and know what might get them in trouble and how much trouble,” said Turner, “And good for supervisors to assure consistent treatment of all employees.”

The biggest single change in the new rules would be the appointment of a “Director of Administrative Services,” to whom commissioners would delegate some authority to make disciplinary decisions. The administrator would research offenses and grievances and make recommendations to the board, but would not have the authority to terminate an employee. The county commission remains the final appeal in the case of a grievance.

Director of Administrative Services Alan Pierce was suggested for the job. He said if he accepts the new responsibility, some of his current duties would have to be passed to another employee.

Also new is a written list of disciplinary actions triggered by specific offenses. 

Under the new rules, county employees need not reside in Franklin County but must get permission from a supervisor to work a second job, even if self employed. Commissioner William Massey said this is not a change from the county’s informal policy.

One important change is that all positions would have to be advertised in-house before they could be publicly advertised.

Turner said the hiring process would be more formalized under the new rules and that department heads are required to interview potential employees, although they need not interview every applicant. Applications will also be retained on file and might be reviewed for potential employees before a job is publicly advertised.

At the same meeting, Clerk of Courts Marcia Johnson provided an incomplete set of job descriptions for county positions. Johnson said she has been attempting to compile a complete list for some time but several department heads have failed to provide her with descriptions.

Johnson said the descriptions are needed to determine if employees are fulfilling their jobs.

“We’re really not even doing evaluations of employees,” she said. “ If they want to get raises and bonuses, this needs to be in place. Evaluations need to be done at least annually. Sometimes I might want to give a raise based on merit.”

Finance department staffer Erin Griffith said the board requested job descriptions from department heads in 2000.

Commissioner Pinki Jackel said the commission will repeat the request at the next commission meeting. Commissioners said they will discuss the new rules at a future meeting after taking time to study the lengthy document.

Also discussed at the May 21 meeting, was a $500 annual stipend paid to employees who supervise inmate workers at least 90 percent of the time. The bonus is paid because supervision of inmates is considered to be a dangerous activity.

Most inmates work on a road crew; however, mosquito control uses inmates for eight months of the year to clear ditches. On the advice of Turner, the commission plans to prorate the stipend paid to mosquito control workers who supervise inmates for only part of the year.

Turner said those employees would receive an additional 25 percent hourly when supervising crews.