Commissioners recommend hazard pay plan for 347 employees

Ken de la Bastide, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.
·3 min read

Apr. 20—ANDERSON — The Madison County commissioners are recommending that 347 employees receive hazard pay for working through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commissioners Tuesday voted to recommend to the Madison County Council that the hazard pay ranges from $500 to $2,000 in a three-tier plan.

Tom Ecker, director of the Emergency Management Agency, said the total amount being recommended for hazard pay is $482,475 that will be paid from federal CARES Act funding.

Ecker said the committee consisting of elected officials defined those employees eligible for hazard pay as those working in conditions that presented a potential hazard to their health.

Committee members include: John Richwine, Madison County Commissioner; Madison County Councilman Anthony Emery; Sheriff Scott Mellinger; Ecker; and Beatrice Ramey, the county's Human Resources director.

Those eligible fell into three categories including direct contact with the public, unable to work from home during the pandemic and those exposed to the coronavirus.

The hazard pay covers the period from March 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.

Commissioner John Richwine, a member of the committee, said the standard was set based on the CARES Act funding.

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

He said 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.

"The different amounts were set based on potential exposure during working hours," Ecker said.

Full time employees hired after March 1 and continued to work through the end of the year will be paid 50% of the hazard pay amount. Part time employees will have their hazard pay pro-rated based on the number of days worked.

"This puts a reasonable plan in place," Richwine said. "It's based on the people that were in harm's way."

In other business, Madison County recorder Linda Smith requested approval of a $199,455 contract through American Recovery Act funds.

Smith said the funds would be used to transfer the documented records, some dating back 150 years, to a format that can be viewed on the internet.

"This will provide remote access and limit the number of people coming to the office to review the books," she said.

County Attorney Jeff Graham said the commissioners have to create a plan for the spending of the federal dollars.

He said the plan has to be adopted through the passage of an ordinance.

"We're still waiting on guidelines from the state and federal government," Graham said. "There will be a lot of oversight of spending by the federal government."

The plan is expected to be in place by May.

Richwine said the request fits the criteria and will be placed in the county's ordinance establishing the plan for spending the federal money.

The commissioners tabled the contract approval.

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