8 more county employees approved for pandemic hazard pay

·3 min read

Sep. 16—ANDERSON — An additional eight employees will receive COVID-19-related hazard pay from Madison County.

County council voted Tuesday to provide $2,000 in hazard pay to a deputy coroner who was employed during 2020 and seven employees in the Information Technology Department. Previously, the council voted to provide 347 other employees with hazard pay.

During discussion at the meeting, Councilman Mikeal Vaughn said hazard pay should be paid to the employees working in the county's dispatch center. Councilman Anthony Emery, a member of the committee that considered hazard pay requests, said he brought to the committee a request to provide hazard pay for the dispatchers.

The committee voted against providing the hazard pay, according to Emery.

"The concern was that other departments would come forward," he said. "The line had to be drawn somewhere."

Some employees were in a more hazardous risk position than others during the pandemic, council President Ben Gale said.

The council approved spending $482,000 on the hazard pay.

Vaughn withdrew a motion to provide hazard pay to the dispatchers, because the required funding was not advertising prior to the meeting.

The hazard committee established a three-tier system to divide the hazard pay.

The committee determined jail officers and deputies with the Sheriff's Department were considered tier one employees and will receive $2,000 for full-time employees and $1,000 for part-time workers.

Tier 2 full-time employees will receive $1,500 and part-time workers $750, and tier 3 employees will be paid $1,000 for full-time and $500 for part-time workers.

Full-time employees hired after March 1 who continued to work through the end of the year will be paid 50% of the hazard pay amount. Hazard pay for part-time employees will be prorated based on the number of days worked.

The committee that considered which employees would receive hazard pay and the amounts was comprised of Tom Ecker, director of the Madison County Emergency Management Agency; Emery; Sheriff Scott Mellinger; Beatrice Ramey, the county's human resources director; and John Richwine, Madison County commissioner.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

—County Auditor Rick Gardner recommended that the council appropriate $128,700 remaining in COVID-19 funding to pay off the county's loan on the Star Bank building.

He said the council has included in the 2022 budget proposal $275,000 to eliminate the debt. By paying off the loan, the county would save $82,000 annually, which could be used for maintenance on the building, Gardner pointed out.

Madison County commissioners in 2016 purchased the building at a cost of $675,000. The county borrowed the money from the bank on a 10-year loan.

At the time, commissioners announced that Star Bank was leasing space from the county at an annual cost of $55,000 for five years with an option for an additional 20 years.

The office of the Madison County Council of Governments was moved to the Star Bank building from the Madison County Government Center with annual lease payments of $20,000.

—Council approved $600,000 for paving from the county's Highway Department Fund and $36,200 from the general fund to resolve plumbing issues at the Madison County Community Corrections Complex and Work Release.

Last year, council appropriated $104,405 to resolve mold problems.

The approved funding will cover repairs to a third bathroom in the complexes.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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