Brush crew to receive additional compensation
After some debate Monday, Leavenworth County Commissioners decided to grant overtime pay to county employees who worked Tuesday, Dec. 11, when the courthouse was closed due to inclement weather.
Commissioners questioned whether employees like the public works department's brush crew should be additionally compensated for clearing icy roads on a non-holiday, but, ultimately, all three voted to do so.
Public Works director Mike Spickelmier reported that 43 of his employees worked Tuesday. At an average of $16 per hour, that's a cost of over $5,000 for an 8-hour day, he said.
According to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, all nonexempt employees that work over a prescribed threshold usually 40 hours per week must receive time and a half for the additional hours worked.
Commission Chairman J.C. Tellefson first recommended only paying time and a half for hours accrued over that 40-hour threshold last week.
"My feeling is (Tuesday) was a normal workday," Tellefson said. "It was not a holiday; it was an emergency. Employees were asked not to come in : in the interest of public safety."
Public Works director Mike Spickelmier pointed to a county resolution passed in December 1997 stating "an employee will receive time and a half for hours worked on an emergency, call-back basis."
Commissioner Dean Oroke noted, however, that Tuesday was not a call-back situation and should not be considered as such.
Spickelmier pointed out, "We (Public Works) do anticipate that we'll have additional personnel services, and that is factored into our yearly budget for snow and ice removal."
He added that wages might be reimbursable if the county qualified for federal disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
When asked for his input, County Counselor David Van Parys said, "My thought would be that you have to comply with the state and the FLSA : but you are not required to pay essential employees overtime."
In the end, Oroke introduced a motion to award overtime pay to nonexempt employees that passed unanimously.
"This will not become policy, though," Oroke warned, acknowledging the need to formulate a more concrete policy for overtime pay.
In other business Monday, the board:
¢ Voted, 3-0, to close the County Courthouse for business on Christmas Eve in accordance with the state and federal holiday.
¢ Approved, 2-1 (Tellefson opposed), the preliminary and final plats for an approximately five-acre tract of land lying just south of Leavenworth Road between 171st and 175th streets.
The property, owned by Steve and Tracey Smith, is divided into two lots and has two driveways leading to a home and an adjoining field.
The Leavenworth County Planning Commission recommended approval of the plat, 5-2, but under the stipulation that access be reduced to one driveway.
Tellefson supported creating a shared access point, which would necessitate creating a new drainage culvert, but Oroke and Commissioner Clyde Graeber both voted to retain the existing entrances.
¢ Approved, 3-0, the preliminary and final plats for 70 acres of land located north of Limit Road on the east side of 259th Street at the boundary between Leavenworth and Jefferson County held in the Norma E. Noll trust.
¢ Approved, 3-0, the preliminary and final plats for Curtis Farms, an approximately 28-acre tract divided into two equal lot sizes just south of Cantrell Road on 174th Street.
¢ County Clerk Linda Scheer inquired whether $1,040 should be reallocated from the county's general fund to cover a shortage of funds for economic development in the 2007 budget.
The total amount allotted for economic development, which covers the Leavenworth County Development Corp. and Port Authority, was $305,280.
Commissioner Graeber said that appropriation was based on an anticipated half-mill, and that figure came in under what was estimated.
¢ Approved, 3-0, a $15,000 transfer of funds from the county appraiser's operating budget to the department's capital outlay fund to pay for the purchase of an additional vehicle.
¢ Held two executive session totaling 30 minutes to discuss potential litigation.
In business Thursday, the board:
¢ Voted, 3-0, to close the county treasurer's office at 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 31 for all outside business as per request by treasurer Janice Young.
¢ Held two executive sessions totaling 32 minutes to discuss personnel matters.