The Jenkins City Council held a “work session” Tuesday night to clarify several issues in the city’s personnel policy that will be addressed by the council at its Febru- ary meeting.
Mayor Todd Depriest asked the council to comment on issues in the personnel handbook and said that council members could make suggestions, but that no action would be taken until the next regular meeting. Council member Rebecca Amburgey said that the policy concerning sick days had been modified in each of the last two administrations and suggested that the council members look toward a standard policy.
Councilman Chuck Anderson agreed with Amburgey about regularizing sick day policies. Both agreed that employees want fair treatment, but that they also want to have a standard policy that will be adhered to. The general consensus among council members was that employees should accrue sick days at the rate of four hours a month, which would give them each six days a year with no carryover at the end of the year for unused days. The council will vote on the policy at the meeting on February 5.
In the current handbook, new employees have to serve a 60-day probationary period before they can accumulate sick days and that policy will continue. The council also discussed short- and long-term disability. Acting City Administrator Benny McCall told the council that since the city has under 50 employees, the Family Leave Act, which addresses leave for longer illness and illnesses regarding family members, does not apply to them and Depriest said he will ask the Kentucky League of Cities about the possibility of getting long-term disability coverage for employees.
The council also discussed bereavement time, The standard for bereavement leave is three days, and Councilman Rick Damron said the standard is for immediate family, spouse, parents, children, sons-inlaw and daughters-in-law, and grandparents.
The council also discussed holidays. Several said they felt that Veterans Day should be a holiday, especially for city employees who are veterans. However, City Attorney Randall Tackett said that it would create difficulties to give some employees a day off without giving it to all of them. The general consensus was for the nine standard holidays. Mayor Depriest added that it is difficult for city hall employees to transact much in the way of business on days when banks and the post office are closed. He did say that it might be a good idea to have a window open for people who want to come by and pay utility bills or taxes and that the drop boxes are always available. Depriest told the council that city hall will be open until 6 p.m. on Fridays as well.
Depriest also asked council members to look at the city’s insurance tax rate and bring suggestions about the possibility of a slight raise in rates for the next meeting. He said the purpose of the tax is to raise funds for the police and fire department and added that he intends to provide benefits for police officers. The tax is on all insurance premiums.
Depriest said he will look at insurance tax rates levied by cities of equal size to Jenkins. Councilman Mike Dingus suggested that he also look at cities in similar situations in regard to employment rates.
Councilman Kyle Walker told the council he believes that the practice of having city employees fill out their own time sheets and then having the supervisor sign off on it should be modifi ed, He said the city needs a better and more accurate system for keeping time. Several council members suggested that any employee injured on the job should automatically be required to take a drug test.
Councilman Rick Damron suggested the council should have a policy regarding abuse of computers, that is, misuse of computers during work hours, including watching movies and other non-work activities. Kyle Walker suggested putting security cameras in the water plant because of the importance of a safe water supply and the chemicals used to treat water as well as the cost losing treated water. No votes or other actions were taken, but council suggestions will be taken into consideration for action at the next meeting.