HC Commissioners adopt new personnel policy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 5, 2007

WINTON – Hertford County is half way through adopting a new policy manual.

On Monday morning, the Hertford County Commissioners adopted the new personnel policy presented by County Manager Loria D. Williams. Due to the policy manual being part of the county ordinance, it does not take effect until approved in two consecutive meetings because there were only four commissioners present.

County Attorney Charles Revelle told the board their policy required a 5-0 vote for an ordinance to become effective on a first vote. Since Commissioner Johnnie R. Farmer was absent, it requires two majority votes and will be put back on the agenda in August.

According to Williams, there are several major changes to the personnel policy. The first she addressed was a change in supplementing Workman’s Compensation.

Williams said the county currently offered several ways for an employee to make the salary 100 percent, but the new ordinance would provide that employees would receive payment from Workman’s Compensation only.

“This is a very, very material change,” Williams said.

She did say anyone on workman’s comp at the time of the ordinance adoption would be grandfathered in under the current way of doing business.

Another change in the ordinance will see the elimination of petty leave within the county. Until now, all Hertford County employees had been allowed 14 hours of petty leave.

Williams said the county lagged far behind others in the area in reference to accrual of annual leave time. The administration recommended changing annual leave time to a schedule that was more closely aligned with neighboring counties.

Those who work zero to two years will now accrue 11.5 days per year; those with two to five years will accrue 14 days; five to 10 will be 17 days, 10-20 will be 20 days; 15-20 will accrue 23 days; and those with 20-plus years will accrue 25.5 days.

“We were off the mark as it relates to other counties,” Williams said. “I whole-heartedly recommend this change to you.”

The county manager also said the change would more than make up for the loss of petty leave. She said to additionally help employees, annual leave could now be taken in one hour increments rather than the previous requirement of four-hour increments.

Commission Chairman Curtis A. Freeman suggested that, once adopted, the policy manual be explained to personnel and not just to department heads. Williams said she would make sure that happened.

The final major change in the policy manual will effect only newly hired employees.

In the past, Hertford County has been paying health insurance premiums for retired employees who met certain requirements. Those requirements have changed over the years until the last change allowed any employee who met one of three criteria to have their health insurance paid until Medicare became effective and then pay a Medicare supplement afterwards.

Those conditions were:

* 30 years of service with Hertford County;

* 20 years of service with Hertford County at age 62; or

* 10 years of service with Hertford County at age 65.

Williams said new mandates would require that this health insurance be counted on the county’s ledger as a liability.

She said some counties were eliminating coverage for retired employees altogether, but her proposal simply changed the policy back to its first draft, providing coverage for those with 30 years of experience with Hertford County.

“This will not affect anyone currently working for Hertford County,” she said. “They will be governed by the requirements when they were hired. This is only for personnel hired after this ordinance is adopted.”

The commissioners will have the opportunity to ratify the ordinance at their August 6 meeting.