Make-up days for county discussed

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What happens to county workers, and the tax dollars used to pay them, when rain and other inclement weather keep them from performing their primary duties?

Members of the Covington County Commission are concerned about that very question, and met Tuesday for a workshop held to discuss the matter.

Chairman Bill Godwin said there are several options available to the commission in order to ensure county workers’ time is being best utilized.

“We have 50-some-odd workers in the road department and nine (road) graders that can’t grade in the rain,” he told commission members. “I’m just looking to see if there is a better way we can do this.”

The concern, Godwin said, is that workers may be rendered idle by weather while on the clock. Godwin asked if a “two-hour compensation,” for those days, coupled with moving the work to the following Friday, or next available “good weather” workday, was a better option.

County engineer Darren Capps said the deferred work option was a possibility, but noted the importance of what county workers do accomplish when unable perform their primary duties, such as road improvement.

“We’ve got bridges that need to be cleared off; signs that need to be straightened,” Capp said. “(Monday), we had trees down and several places where water was up over the roadway.”

Those tasks, Capps said, are routinely done by county employees detoured from roadwork due to weather.

Capps, as well as Commissioner Kenneth Northey, also pointed out the inconvenience the change would cause for county workers.

“A lot of these guys try to schedule doctor appointments and dental for Fridays,” Capps said.

Northey pointed to the issue of calling in specific workers for tasks that have been pushed to a later date.

“It’s hard to know what you’re going to need,” he said. “And once you send some of these guys home, it’s hard to get them back.”

The commission also addressed needs and the current inventory of county trucks and equipment, and considered the sale of three 2007 Mack Trucks in order to purchase newer model trucks and other equipment, such as backhoes.

Under law, commissioners are not allowed to vote on items during workshop sessions, and no decisions were made Tuesday concerning either matter; however, commission members agreed to gather further information concerning the items, in order to make better-informed decisions in the future.

The commission will hold its regular meeting today at 8:30 a.m. at the County Administration Building on Hillcrest Dr. Neither item is on the agenda for today’s meeting, which is open to the public.