Familiar faces in new places

Published 8:52 am Tuesday, July 12, 2011

WINTON – With the blessing of the board of commissioners, three familiar faces will be seen in new places within Hertford County local government.

At their meeting here last week, the board approved Davey Gaston as the county’s new Facilities Manager; Vernon Pope as Building and Grounds Coordinator and Sharon Freeman as Housekeeping Coordinator.

Gaston previously served the county as its Code Enforcement Officer; Pope was listed as the Building and Grounds Supervisor and Freeman was the senior member of the housekeeping crew.

The new positions are part of a re-organization of county government.

As Facilities Manager, Gaston will plan, organize and oversee repairs, maintenance and general operations for county-owned facilities/buildings and grounds. He will supervise all departmental staff under Building and Grounds and Housekeeping.

Pope’s job duties include skilled, unskilled and intermediate cleaning, maintenance and repair of county buildings and grounds.

Freeman performs responsible unskilled work in the care and cleaning of county buildings and property.

Per the Job Classification/Grade Pay Scale list, also approved by the commissioners at their July 5 meeting, the Facilities Manager’s position was added under Grade 18 (an annual salary range of $38,139 to $59,116). That pay grade is the same as the Chief Deputy Sheriff, Register of Deeds and Emergency Medical Services Director.

“We grade classifications based on responsibilities, number of people supervised, overall responsibility to the jurisdiction (county government) and looking at the pay scales of local government employees in surrounding counties because they are the ones were are competing against for employees,” said Hertford County Manager Loria Williams.

With that criteria in mind, Williams and Assistant County Manager John P. Rankins recommended a Grade Level 18 for the Facilities Manager, based on the number of employees under their supervision as well as that manager having certification and training in heating and air conditioning.

“The overall impact to the jurisdiction is also weighed heavily into the decision to place this position under Grade Level 18; if our buildings are not warm in the winter or cool in the summer, I’ll note a lot of employees asking to leave early to go home,” Williams stressed.

The Building and Grounds Coordinator’s pay scale is listed at level 11 (annual salary from $27,105 to $42,012). That is comparable to that of a Sheriff’s Deputy, Detention Lieutenant, Director of Elections and Income Maintenance Casework II.

The pay scale is listed as Level 3 ($18,346 to $28,436) for the Housekeeping Coordinator. That pay scale also covers the likes of a Building and Grounds Maintenance Worker, Home Delivered Meals Coordinator, Processing Assistant III and a receptionist.

“These will be working coordinators (Pope and Freeman) who will handle their duties on a daily basis and report to the Facilities Manager, who, in turn, reports to me,” observed Rankins. “They will not have any budgetary responsibility; they will not have any fiduciary responsibility; they will not order supplies or complete performance evaluations…all of those administrative duties will be in the hands of the Facilities Manager.”

Commission Chairman Johnnie Ray Farmer inquired if Gaston would be used, if needed, in Building Inspection/Code Enforcement.

“We received information from the (state) Attorney General’s office to make sure we could do that,” Williams answered. “We were concerned if his certifications (in building inspection/code enforcement) would be negatively impacted if he was not working a certain amount of hours providing those actual services.

“There may be a bit of budgetary housekeeping I’ll have to do with that issue,” she continued. “If it’s a material dollar amount, I’ll bring it back to the board so you will know about moving some monies around in his budget in order for him to maintain his certification. We want him to maintain that certification.”

In addition to approving the three new job descriptions, the commissioners also gave their blessings to the Job Classification List.

“You (commissioners) had previously approved for the Sheriff to have another Animal Control Officer and we have added that as a Grade Level number five on the pay scale as well as these positions for a Facilities Manager, Building and Grounds Coordinator and Housekeeping Coordinator,” Rankins noted.

“Are there any changes in the salary ranges,” asked Farmer.

“No sir, the salary ranges remain the same,” Rankins responded.

Commissioner Bill Mitchell inquired about the difference between the pay grades of the two animal control officers included on the Job Classification List. An Animal Control Officer II is included in Pay Grade 7 (a range from $22,299 to $34,564) while a Control Officer I is listed in Pay Grade 5 ($20,226 to $31,350).

“These are appointments by the Sheriff as Animal Control is under his supervision,” Williams stated. “The difference between the two is if there is dog suspected of being vicious and is deemed vicious, state statures allows for an appeals process for the dog owner to contest the labeling of his or her dog being declared as vicious or dangerous and needs to be restrained in some fashion. That requires some sort of administrative, quasi judicial process with that responsibility and I would encourage the Sheriff to have only one person performing that responsibility. That would be a job for an Animal Control Officer II rather than an Officer I.

“I want to publicly say that Ms. Williams and Mr. Rankins did a marvelous job in this reorganization process,” Mitchell said. “It was a very delicate situation. I want to thank you both for the job you did. It was handled very well.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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