Commissioners approve dispatch position, discuss holiday pay policy

VIRGINA CITY – During their regular meeting last week prior to the Thanksgiving holiday the Madison County Commissioners carried a motion to hire on a permanent basis a temporary county employee who had been working as an emergency dispatch officer.

The dispatch officer will start at a rate of $15.15 per hour, which is 90 percent of the clerk’s salary. Steve DiGiovanna, Deputy Director of Emergency Management for Madison County, explained that the new dispatch officer already has their state license and has already been working for two weeks. DiGiovanna said the move to permanently hire the dispatch officer fills a huge hole in the dispatch center, and he estimated the officer would be able to work unsupervised within a week.

The board also received a presentation from Ennis resident Renee Lemon concerning Safe Routes To School.

Safe Routes to School is a federally funded reimbursement program that promotes walking or riding a bike to school for children as a safe and appealing alternate mode of transportation. Lemon presented three possible routes connecting the Madison Meadows golf course neighborhood to the school explained the pros and cons of each alternative.

The first alternative would be building an asphalt pathway along the north side of Golf Course Drive to Charles Avenue, relocate the existing crosswalk from Pearl Street and install a section of sidewalk from along Charles Avenue to the existing sidewalk in front of the school.

The second alternative is relocating the existing crosswalk to Comely Way, building an asphalt path through Esther Avenue and installing a crosswalk on Charles Avenue.

The third alternative is to use the crosswalk on Pearl Street because of concerns about traffic on Charles Avenue and Comely Way.

Commissioner Dan Happel expressed concerns about a crosswalk at Charles Avenue because of its proximity to the main highway coming through town.

The board carried a motion approving Madison County as grand administrator and fiscal agent for the Safe Routes To School program.

At the this week’s commissioner meeting, commissioners met with Director of Emergency Management Chris Mumme to discuss a resolution concerning the county’s emergency operations plan.

The county is required by state law to have a local and interjurisdictional plan for managing emergencies and disasters that serves as standard operating procedure during those times. The board carried a motion to adopt a resolution for the June 2011 Madison County Emergency Operations Plan.

The board also met with Madison County chief financial officer Vicki Tilstra and Human Resource Officer Wendy Vos to discuss a policy for holiday benefits and eligibility for county employees. Employees who work on legal holidays are entitled to paid time off or pay at their regular hourly rate not to exceed eight hours per holiday.

The policy states that employees should receive holiday benefits and pay for work performed on the day the holiday is observed, unless the employee is scheduled to work on the actual holiday. In that case the actual holiday is considered the observed holiday for the purpose of calculating benefits and additional pay. Employees will receive benefits for working on the observed or actual holiday, but not both.

For example, if an employee works a 12-hour shift on the actual and observed holiday, they will receive their regular wage for both 12-hour days, plus an additional eight hours of holiday pay at their regular wage.

Commissioner Dave Schulz said the board is trying to understand the holiday benefit policy.

“The quicker we can get that done, the quicker finance and the employees understand what we’re doing,” he said.

After much discussion the board carried a motion to approve the benefit and eligibility requirements portion for the proposed policy. The next regular commissioner meeting is scheduled for Dec. 6.

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