Leave time plan still uncertain in Crawford County

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 99 views 

The back and forth regarding the donation of vacation time has moved another inch after last night's (Aug. 1) meeting of the Crawford County Quorum Court's personnel committee.

At the meeting, Justice of the Peace Stanley Clark presented a packet to committee members with proposals he had come up with after doing research on various government entities, such as schools, municipal governments and states. The proposals are the most detailed yet to come from a member of the committee.

"It was a very civil meeting," said Crawford County Clerk Teresa Armer. "I think progress was made."

That is a big change from previous meetings that saw raised voices and hot tempers present by both members of the quorum court and county employees.

The biggest change to the proposed donation policy includes the creation of a donation bank. It's something Armer said it was a system that would allow employees to not only donate vacation time, but also sick days.

"This allows a banking system instead of an employee donating to another employee. You actually donate to a bank. If someone needs it, they come to a (donated leave) committee," she said.

Armer said it was likely that elected officials within county government would make up the committees, though it would likely be "tweaked" as the county employees and elected officials get used to how the proposed committee functions.

Clark's proposal included the following requirements:
• Any regular full-time employee is eligible to participate in the program after completing a full year of continuous employment with the county;
• An employee requesting time from the leave bank would have had to make a donation to the bank within the fiscal year of his or her request; and
• The employee must have used all leave time available, including sick, personal, holiday and vacation time.

Additionally, no more than 240 hours of catastrophic leave may be granted to a requesting employee. The county would also not be required to grant employees the requested amount of leave time.

The term "catastrophic illness and/or injury" is also clearly defined in Clark's proposal, stating that it is "defined as a severe illness, a severe physical condition, severe accident producing a life threatening or severely incapacitating condition for which extensive medical treatment or prolonged absence form work is necessary and which results in a substantial loss of income to the employee because of the exhaustion of all sick, personal, holiday and vacation leave time."

Immediate family has also been clearly defined in this latest proposal, with the employee's spouse, children, parents, grandparents, father- or mother-in-law or individuals that depend on the employee as their primary custodian, including siblings or grandchildren under the care of the employee.

As with most policies, there are exclusions which state:
• Paid catastrophic leave cannot be granted to individuals who have not exhausted their own leave time;
• Elective surgeries are not covered unless complications arise resulting in a catastrophic illness;
• Pregnancy is not included under the catastrophic illness policy unless the mother and/or child suffer complications that lead to a catastrophic illness; and
• Any request for catastrophic leave must exceed three complete workdays.

Armer said the committee has sent the proposal to the county's attorney, Chuck Baker, for review.

"They (Clark and Baker) will get together and re-word some things in that and come up with an ordinance to propose to the Quorum Court."

The next regular meeting of the Crawford County Quorum Court is scheduled for Aug. 19.