County workers can cash in extra vacation?

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Approximately 25 county employees may get a little something extra this holiday season.

The county commission will on Thursday consider paying employees for unused vacation time that they would otherwise lose if it weren’t taken by Dec. 31.

Commission Chairman Bill Godwin said he wants it to be clear that he is only willing to vote to pay for unused vacation time once.

“What I want in place is a counseling program,” he said. “The department heads need to talk to their employees about how much time they have.”

Godwin said he is willing to make payments this year to get the amount to zero. Going forward, it would be up to employees to take the vacation time or lose it

County policy allows employees to accumulate and carry over to the following year up to 300 hours in vacation time and 720 hours in sick leave. Unless action is taken this Thursday, anyone who has more than 300 hours of vacation on the books would lose the excess time.

County administrator Brenda Petty estimated there are 25 employees who have $25,000 in vacation time they could lose. Some of those are taking time off this month, she said. Others are not.

“My thing is if a person earns it, he should be able to use it or get paid for it,” Godwin said, adding he would only vote to do this once.

The commission also is expected to nail down a total amount an amount it will give the county recreation board for a Babe Ruth World Series event in the summer of 2013. Earlier this year, the commission agreed to give two months’ worth of lodging tax proceeds for the event. Eddie Stacey addressed the commission at Tuesday’s workshop meeting and said the county collected $14,695 in lodging taxes in June; $16,909 in July; and $13,015 in August.