Addresses personnel issues
by Shane Clouse
LA VETA- The La Veta Town Board had both a workshop and a special meeting on July 25 to take care of pressing personnel issues. Marshal Jerry Baumgarner’s overtime hours were at issue during the morning workshop. Baumgarner had requested to be paid for overtime he has worked since the Town lost its other two law enforcement personnel. Although overtime was not a part of the contract the Town had negotiated with Baumgarner, the Trustees seemed to be in accord that something should be paid. However they had not decided whether that should be in the form of compensatory time, pay at the regular rate or pay at a rate of time-and-one-half.
During the evening meeting, the Town’s employee handbook was consulted, and it references time and one half or compensatory time for over-time. With this information, Mayor Pro-tem Larry Klinke moved to pay the time-and-one-half, and
Trustee Laurie Erwin seconded the motion. In the ensuing discussion Mayor Don Keairns brought up the federal guidelines regarding law enforcement. Those guidelines specify that a Town with fewer than five law enforcement employees is exempt from paying time-and-one-half. At that point, Erwin withdrew her second, and the motion died due to lack of a second.
Trustee Tracy Webb then moved to pay the Marshal compensatory time at the regular rate until two weeks after the new deputy marshal, Patrick Lira, starts. Trustee Dale Davis seconded the motion. During discussion Klinke stated that the town had not adopted the federal guidelines and that the employee handbook needs to be revised. Webb’s motion passed on a 4-2 vote, with Keairns and Klinke voting no.
The Board then discussed options for replacing the Town Clerk and Deputy Town Clerk. An ad has been run and a few applications have been received. However, with Deputy Clerk CJ Smith leaving on July 29, the office would be empty until replacements are hired. From the audience, Jerry Fitzgerald offered to volunteer his time and expertise for the interim period while the board reviews the applications and conducts interviews. His offer was met with applause from the audience, and Mayor Keairns said, “We really appreciate your offer, thank you.” Fitzgerald started at Town Hall on the morning of July 26.
Erwin moved and Klinke seconded to hire Janine Anderson to take care of the payroll and to transfer the bookkeeping to Quickbooks. The pay rate will be $40 per payroll period and $30 per hour for transferring information to Quickbooks. The motion passed unanimously. Webb moved and Davis seconded to hire Sierra Four Winds at $30 per hour to train the new employees on the computer programs and administration of the Town’s web site. The motion passed unanimously. The Town now has some breathing room in which to find and hire suitable replacements.