Snead struggles with dual personnel issues

The Snead Town Council continued its struggle with employee bereavement leave and added the question of vacation time. In discussion prior to the Nov. 25 meeting, most councilors appeared ready to approve adding an additional day of bereavement leave (for a total of three) and establishing that the leave applied differently to different departments based on the number of hours assigned for a shift.

Police chief Phillip Weaver first presented the matter weeks earlier when questioning how the leave applied differently, in his perception, between his officers and other city employees. Snead police work 12-hour shifts, while other employees are on eight-hour shifts.

The council could not reach agreement in the latest session. To consider an ordinance as needed on the issue, state law requires the introduction of such at one regular meeting and the vote at a later. That rule may be circumvented with a unanimous vote at the initial meeting. Councilman Jack Freeman voted no and Mayor Curtis Painter abstained on the motion to introduce the resolution. Town clerk Rae Ware had also advised that the change needed to be posted for a time prior to its enactment. The matter remains held for later consideration.

Utilities supervisor Jeff Whited raised the other employee-benefit issue. Whited asked permission for more that one of his employees to take vacation leave at the same time. He asserted that the town does not permit the carryover of vacation leave from one year to the next and that unusual circumstances with construction and inspections prevented employees from taking leave during the past summer.

Painter contended that there is adequate time remaining in the year for employees to take accrued leave without having multiple absences. Other council members questioned if policy should be changed to permit a carryover or to pay employees who do not use their leave in the year earned. Ware read from policy which permits payment at the mayor’s discretion. Whited was directed to encourage his employees to take leave in the remaining weeks, with the understanding that the matter could be reexamined in upcoming council sessions.

That matter led to another frequently discussed. The council has for years sought to have its utilities employees certified in testing and operation of both the water and sewer facilities. Members have voted to require any new department employee to undergo such certification.

Present employees have not obtained that dual certification. The council has offered pay incentives for the certification, but employees have apparently not responded. Councilors asked Whited again to pursue the certifications and report back on his efforts.

Councilors agreed to Whited’s request to purchase a new vehicle for his department. Members accepted the local $28,649 bid for a four-wheel drive, extended cab Ford F-150 with added lights and storage. They agreed to the renewal of the town’s workers comp insurance and designated doctor and safety supervisor. The councilmen also agreed to contract with the county for debris removal and monitoring for any catastrophic event. The contract services may be awarded another provider should the town find that financially advantageous.

Councilors Phillip McHan, Greg Ogles, Charles Sanders, and Dale Snead joined Painter and Freeman for the Nov. 25 meeting. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the town community center.