County may drop diploma req. for some jobs

Published 10:42 am Thursday, October 13, 2016

Clark County could enter winter with only seven people at the road department.

The animal shelter has been struggling to hire employees to maintain the kennels and look after the animals.

Hiring people to perform vital services has become tougher and tougher as private businesses can pay more than the county.

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County officials said Wednesday they may have to consider lowering hiring standards, specifically requiring a high school diploma or a GED, for some positions to avoid cutting services.

County Road Supervisor Kevin Wilson said he had past applicants who were qualified, but he couldn’t hire them because they did not graduate or complete their GED.

Animal Shelter Director Adreanna Wills said in the last round of applications for a kennel attendant position, she had to eliminate six because they did not meet that requirement. As long at the person can read and write and has some common sense, they should be able to perform the duties, she said.

“As long as they can do that, I don’t care if they can do geometry,” she said. “I don’t think every position should require that. Every position is different.”

Wilson said his department, already three employees short, could enter winter with seven employees, after losing some to retirement. Another road department employee recently left for a job paying $9 an hour more, he said.

“Right now with the condition we’re in, this winter will be tough,” Wilson said. “We’re struggling to keep employees. Something needs to be done.”

Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham suggested it might be time to lower the county’s standards to fill the positions at present salaries.

“It could (help),” Magistrate Matt Brinegar said. “It’s up to Kevin to decide if they’re qualified.”

Being short-handed at the road department has been an issue all summer without enough people to mow, Branham said.

“We’ve suffered enough with the mowing this summer,” he said. “We’re not sending a good message to the constituents.”

Magistrate Pam Blackburn said there were problems in the past with not requiring diplomas, and Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulos did not want to drop the requirement across the board.

“Pam, that’s something we may need to look at is lowering our standards,” Branham said.

“I’m concerned about being able to plow these roads. We’ve got to provide this service. It would be a big failure for this county.”

Blackburn suggested contracting snow removal for the winter, but Branham said his experience, and that of other counties, is contracting is more expensive than doing it in-house.

“This winter, if its a bad winter, we’re going to fail,” Branham said.

A county subcommittee is working on establishing a pay schedule and pay grade plan for all county employees. Brinegar, who serves on that committee, said setting salaries will be part of the proposed plan.

“We’ve been behind since the raise for minimum wage (was approved).” Brinegar said.

New employees had the benefit of the higher wage, but salaries for existing employees weren’t increased to match.

“We’re trying to bring it up more, but it has to be approved by the fiscal court,” he said.

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About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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