The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

June 26, 2012

Decision could affect all county employees

CLINTON — Clinton County Board of Supervisors will look into changing vacation time for assistant county attorneys in a decision that could affect all county employees.

County Attorney Mike Wolf and Assistant Attorney Ross Barlow approached the board with a proposal to grant department head vacation benefits to assistant county attorneys at a meeting Monday.

“We don’t expect to change the work load, just add more flexibility,” Wolf said.

Assistant city attorneys do much of their work outside normal hours, according to Barlow.

“We work 24/7,” Barlow said. “We bring work home. No matter what vacation we get, there will still be the same amount of work getting done.”

Currently, attorneys receive regular employee benefits, which are as follows: Upon completion of one year of work, 10 days of vacation; seven years of work equals 15 days of vacation; 15 years of work equals 20 days of vacation; and 21 years of work equals 25 days vacation. If approved, the assistant attorneys would receive the department head vacation time, which is: Upon one year completion,10 days of vacation; for three years of work, 15 days off; for eight years of work, 20 days off; for 15 years, 25 days off; and for 20 years, 30 days off.

One of the main motivations for adding more vacation time is to bring in more attorneys and for retention.

“If you look at the private sector there is more flexibility,” Barlow said. “We’ve lost an attorney because of the stress.”

The timing for implementing a change like this is ideal with the end of the fiscal year approaching, according to Wolf. Only vacation time would be affected with no carry-over time and it would not be retroactive. The time would be subject to the employee handbook and would have to be approved by Wolf.

Human Resource Consultant Paul Greufe urged the board to consider the down side of implementing a policy like this for just one department.

“It is my personal opinion that you should have the same benefits for all county employees,” Greufe said. “You don’t want to separate the department benefits, besides those who are in charge of the departments.”

While Wolf and Barlow emphasized having the same productivity while adding flexibility, Greufe says that any department heads could say the same thing.

“It’s a slippery slope,” Greufe said. “Some would be included and some would not.”

Supervisor Jill Davisson said the attorney office is unique with a high level of professionalism.

“The amount of education and importance is significant,” Davisson said. “We want something in place that is a caveat for retention.”

Offering benefits and incentives for attorneys coming in is workable, but changing benefits later on could lead to serious problems, according to Greufe.

“It’s difficult to tell someone the professionalism isn’t there and to determine their importance,” Greufe said. “The board should have a clear cut decision to fill a specific mold.”

As for comparison to the private sector, Greufe says he has never seen a private firm have more than four weeks of vacation.

Supervisor John Staszewski said the change would only cause more problems.

“I agree with Paul,” Staszewski said. “This would create problems with other departments. We should look at the policy and find working ground for everyone.”

Being exempt employees, assistant attorneys are working outside of normal work hours without getting overtime, according to Barlow.

“Our job comes home with us,” Barlow said. “We still do our job without overtime. I think that is a distinction.”

Greufe said the policy could be applied to only exempt employees, but that would still be something he would not recommend.

“Attorneys have certain responsibilities with a license to practice law.” Wolf said. “They are subject to sanctions. Not all exempt employees have to deal with licenses. If you lose your license, you are done.”

“Case managers have licenses and other special training,” Greufe said. “This opens the door for other departments.”

Supervisor Brian Schmidt sympathized with Wolf and his department.

“I understand the county attorney’s goal, to make employees more productive,” Schmidt said. “We all need a break.”

“I don’t want to meet with a department each week about this,” Staszewski said. “We need to look at the big picture.”

The supervisors must look at the root of the problem before moving further, according to Schmidt.

“We need to re-evaluate the department head policy that was passed in 2009,” Schmidt said. “The policy was implemented for retention, which looks like the same motivation today.”

Supervisors decided to table the issue until the next meeting after more discussion with the individuals involved.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Dutch Days grand marshals Fulton couple honored as grand marshals

    Bob and Trudy Feldt have been dedicated to the city of Fulton for decades. Whether it be Trudy's 27-year commitment to teaching the children of the community at the River Bend School District, Bob's 33-year career with the Fulton-born c

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Court denies man's appeal in robbery CLINTON -- The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a conviction of a man who robbed a Clinton pawn shop in 2012. Darrell L. Thomas recently appealed his first-degree robbery conviction to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The court released its decision Wednes

    April 17, 2014

  • CCDA will match funds to secure van

    CLINTON -- One local non-profit organization soon will benefit from a donation from the Clinton County Development Association but it's not their typical form of grant giving. During a meeting Wednesday, CCDA members discussed the possibility of matc

    April 17, 2014

  • Jury deliberating in sex abuse case CLINTON -- Jurors were set to return to court this morning to continue deliberating on the trial of a man accused of sexually abusing a 3-year-old girl. The jury deliberated for more than two hours on the Russell McColley case Wednesday afternoon, be

    April 17, 2014

  • City considers upsizing storm sewer capacity CAMANCHE -- Residential development is a key component to the fortitude of Camanche, according to city leaders so they are taking the steps necessary to keep it an appealing location for future investors. To do so, those leaders are looking to up siz

    April 16, 2014

  • Schools will continue sports-sharing agreements CLINTON -- Students attending Camanche, Central DeWitt, Northeast and Prince of Peace schools still will be able to participate in the athletic programs offered in the Clinton School District. At a meeting Monday, Clinton School Board members approve

    April 16, 2014

  • Sex abuse trial continues CLINTON -- Assistant County Attorney Ross Barlow began his case Tuesday against a man charged with sexual abuse of a 3-year-old girl. Russell McColley, 39, is charged with second-degree sexual abuse, a class B felony carrying as much as 25 years in

    April 16, 2014

  • Cattail Slough closed due to high water FULTON, Ill. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River Project announces that Cattail Slough recreation area south of Fulton has been closed due to high water levels. The recreation area will remain closed until it has dried out sufficie

    April 16, 2014

  • Thefts from farms investigated MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. — Carroll County Crime Stoppers is asking for help to solve two recent burglaries being investigated by the Carroll County Sheriff's Department. A caller could receive a reward of as much as $1,000 for information leading to an ar

    April 16, 2014

  • 4-16-14 Braley Visit Local candidates gear up for primary election CLINTON -- The campaign trail is heating up a little early this year for Iowa politicians as the primary election is on the horizon and many challengers await. Three Republican primary races are causing those candidates to get their names and faces o

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

Facebook
Clinton
Camanche
Fulton
Clinton Herald photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.