County won’t park trucks yet

Published 11:59 pm Monday, February 9, 2009

Commissioners agreed yesterday afternoon they made a bad decision at Monday morning’s meeting when they voted to park all county vehicles on county-owned property at night.

At the meeting, Commissioner Harold Elmore proposed a policy that would prohibit road department employees from taking county-owned vehicles home at night, as well as require them to bring sack lunches to job sites and make it mandatory they leave the county yard at 6:30 a.m., instead of the previously approved 7 a.m.

Commissioner Carl Turman agreed with Elmore; however, commissioners David Ellis and Bragg Carter stated they felt the point was moot since the county was in the process of moving to the unit system.

“When the county gets in better financial shape, it can talk about how to take (the trucks) back home,” Elmore said. The measure was to become effective Mon., Feb. 16.

Chairman Lynn Sasser was forced to break the tie and sided with Turman and Elmore to park the vehicles. However, at 3 p.m. Monday, Sasser said in a telephone interview that the commission’s decision “needed further discussion” since commissioners “looked at it in a different light.”

Sasser said not enough time and thought was placed into the motion “since at the time it was made, it was aimed at the road department,” but in actuality unfairly targeted those employees.

“When we started trying to decide how to enforce and notify employees about the policy through a memo, it raised too many questions that we couldn’t answer — like about how it would affect departments across the county,” he said. “It’s not fair to target just one specific department. This is something that would need to be done across the county.

“We can’t implement this policy until it’s clear exactly who this policy will affect and how it will affect them,” he said. “Other departments have take-home vehicles — Pt. A Park, the Arena, the Sheriff’s Office, CATS.”

Sasser said implementation of the policy has been postponed until the commission’s next meeting.

“It was not on the agenda and it never should have been acted on,” he said. “We just need to delay the process until a different time because the unit system will take care of this.”

Commissioners first began looking at a new vehicle policy late last year after discovering during a workshop meeting that policies for road department employees taking home vehicles varied among each district.