Employees of Upson County who stay on board for 15 years or more will now be getting an extra week of vacation, bringing the total up to 4 weeks per year. The County Commissioners voted 3-2 this past Tuesday evening, to pass the recommendation that had been made at the end of September by County Manager Jim Wheeless. Chairman Rusty Blackston and Commissioner Steve Hudson cast the two no votes, with Hudson stating he thought what was already offered to employees was enough vacation time.
“I hate to be a spoil sport, but I was looking at some ads for projects and found that a lot of people are only giving their employees seven days (of vacation),” said Hudson. “I think what we’ve got is enough.”
Currently, Upson County full-time employees receive one week of vacation after one year, two weeks after two years, 96 hours (two weeks and two days) after five years, and 120 hours (or three weeks) after 10 years of service. Wheeless had suggested the idea of adding an additional week for the full-time employees who had been with the county for 15 years or more as a way to compensate those who have been long time employees. He added that employees had not received a raise in four years and insurance rates have gone up as well; the extra week could help to make up for those factors.
After hearing from Commissioner Hudson, Commissioner Ralph Ellington stated he would take the opposite side and suggested the board approve adding the extra week.
“If their work ethic is that good, they will be here for 15 years hopefully,” said Ellington. “I think that after 15 years, they’ve earned that extra week.”
Commissioner Lorenzo Wilder agreed with Ellington and Wheeless’s recommendation, stating that due to the fact the county has not given any raises or cost of living adjustments regularly, he would support the recommendation to add the additional week. At last month’s meeting, Commissioner Frank Spraggins had stated he would also support adding another week, because he feels that is reasonable and what most other governments offer to employees. A motion was made by Ellington and seconded by Wilder and passed 3-2.
Commissioner Ellington also updated the board on the possible move of offices for the Juvenile Court. In a work session earlier this month, the idea of moving the Juvenile Court offices across the hall in the courthouse to the office formerly occupied by Superior Court Judge Mac Crawford, who has since moved his main office to the recently renovated Pike County Courthouse, was proposed. Ellington stated he and Commissioner Wilder had looked at both offices and felt it would be a smart move to swap the entities and would give more security to those working in Juvenile Court.
“If we put Juvenile (Court) where the judges are and put the judges where Juvenile is, it would give them a lot more security for Juvenile Court,” said Ellington. “We had talked about the security system on the judges side also and the folks in Juvenile said they would be happy to keep paying the (roughly) $240 fee to keep the security cameras and the panic button in place.”
If the county decides to make the move with the offices, then visiting Superior Court Judges would use the current Juvenile Court office when they are in town presiding. However, the matter will have to be discussed with each and no decision has been made as of yet.
In other business, the board unanimously voted to put four parcels of county-owned surplus property up for sale. Commission Chairman Rusty Blackston stated selling off the property would get the parcels back on the tax books and bring some revenue in for the county. There is one parcel located at 434 Grays Chapel Road, one at 575 Walton Street and two on Logtown Road, one is a one acre parcel and the other is .45 acre parcel. Commissioner Hudson asked if anyone had spoken with the Road Department about selling the land, because he knew at times they used county-owned property to get the fill dirt they need for projects. Commissioner Wilder stated that all of these parcels are very small and do not have any place that extra dirt could be collected from on them and he did not think selling the property would hinder the Road Department. A motion to sell the property passed unanimously.
The commissioners also appointed a new Open Records Officer and an Alternate due to the fact that the current officer, Pam Fuentes is moving out of state. The board approved County Manager Jim Wheeless to be the primary officer and County Clerk Jessica Jones to be the Alternate.
Finally, the board approved a beer package sale license for Kiran Kumar Reddy on behalf of Wilson’s Market, located at 6456 Crest Highway. Hudson stated the business was in his district and had sold beer for as long as he could remember, therefore he made a motion to approve the license. The motion passed 5-0 and no one in the audience spoke for or against the matter.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1