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County Commission: Updates, clarifies multiple policies

By Bethany Anderson
Freelance Writer

Policy updates took center stage during the monthly Johnson County Commission meeting held last Thursday, June 20.
After the opening prayer by Rick Snyder, the Pledge of Allegiance, roll call, and just one absence noted, the Commission had a full quorum to continue the meeting.
The topics at hand included adding a new policy to clarify the currently non-existent policy concerning culverts on properties that have a “right of way.”
The new policy states that the county will not be responsible for any maintenance on these culverts. The responsibility is to fall on the property owners.
With this being considered an “informational” policy update, not a new policy, it was noted by County Attorney Perry Stout that there would be no need to make a formal notification to residents.
It was also brought to the attention of the Commission that there are currently “at least three maybe more” versions of the County Employee Handbook.
Because they all state slightly different policies for county employees, it was suggested that the Commission make some edits to consolidate them into one comprehensive County Employee Handbook.
County Attorney Perry Stout gave the Commissioners a proposed version of the handbook to look over and make suggestions for further changes or edits.
The two biggest requests for edits concerned the drug testing policy and the holiday pay policy, both of which were addressed by Stout and Johnson County Mayor Mike Taylor.
Also of concern was whether job openings would have to be posted before they are filled internally.
The suggested policy regarding holidays would state, “Employees must work the days before and after a holiday in order to be paid for that holiday.”
Stout had a request of the commissioners to add a statement clarifying that, “This policy is to be enforced at the discretion of each department head.”
The current drug policy does not call for mandatory drug testing. The suggestion made by Stout was (aside from those jobs in the Highway and Transportation Departments who have federal requirements) to again leave this up to department heads whether or not to require mandatory testing before employment is offered
When the Commission was asked to clarify who would be responsible for paying for any “mandatory” drug testing, it was stated that this would be paid for from the county budget, not from each department’s individual budget.
The Commission also decided that job openings should be posted on the county’s bulletin board, located in the courthouse, for at least one week before filling the position.
Snyder suggested, and Stout agreed, that because there were so many proposed changes that it would be best to take the time between meetings for all to review and submit any other suggested changes. The updated version will be presented at the next County Commission meeting for all to cast their vote.