Argument Over Policy, Parks Position Approved

Riley County Commission 2013What the commission seemed to believe would be a quick refresher, turned into a rather heated discussion, during Thursday’s Riley County Commission meeting.

Commission Chair, Dave Lewis asked that the shared leave policy for the county be put on the agenda, in order to inform the new commissioners and the department heads of the details within the policy.  Human Resource Manager, Cindy Volanti presented the policy and several department heads were quick to comment.

The topic of the shared leave policy was brought up during a previous commission meeting, when a request to grant an employee shared leave was approved.  Public Works Director, Leon Hobson was at that meeting, and mentioned he had made a similar request that was denied previously.

Whether to keep the policy consistent, or go by a case-to-case basis seemed to be the major talking point.  Noxious Weed Director, Dennis Peterson mentioned a shared leave bank that was used in the past.  The bank served as a pool that employees could donate un-used leave time to.  If someone was in need of the extra leave time, they could then go to that pool to acquire the time necessary.  Peterson said many retired employees would often donate their extra time.

County Clerk, Rich Vargo commented, he was not in favor of that idea as it presents a “huge liability” to tax payers.

County Treasurer, Eileen King disagreed with Vargo and said she liked the idea, if it was done in the right way.

Community Corrections Director, Shelly Williams brought up a story in her past where the shared leave bank would have been a good tool.

Commissioner, Robert Boyd made the comment, “we are making a mountain out of a mole here”.

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Another item that brought forward differing opinions, was the request to add a Parks Facility and Grounds Tech 1 position to the Parks Department.

Hobson shared the history of the staff, and said there are currently 13 seasonal positions in the department.  The nine month positions are much more difficult to fill, as oppose to the three month positions.  For that reason, Hobson requested three of the nine month positions be eliminated in order to gain a full time position.

Commissioner Boyd did not agree with the request and seemed to be strongly opposed.

Commission Chair, Dave Lewis and Commissioner, Ron Wells were in support of the request, and it was therefore approved on a 2-1 vote.

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A similar discussion of differentiating opinions took place when Peterson made his request to purchase a new wood chipper.  The current wood chipper being utilized is almost 15 years old.

Commissioner Boyd said, “I don’t disagree we need it, I just don’t think it’s the right time”.

Although Commissioner Wells made a motion to approve, he withdrew it after further discussion.  The commission chose to revisit the item after the first of the year.

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The commission viewed the new Riley County web site for one last time.

The web site will go live Friday at five o’clok in the evening.