Committee relaxes road dept. job descriptions

Published 12:41 pm Thursday, December 22, 2016

Future employees of the Clark County Road Department may not have to get their GED, but they wouldn’t qualify for pay raises or advancement opportunities if they don’t.

Finding and keeping quality employees at the road department has been an issue for some time. Road Supervisor Kevin Wilson and Judge-Executive Henry Branham recommended removing the requirement for a high school diploma or a GED, citing several instances where qualified applicants were excluded because they didn’t have the required education in the job description.

Wednesday, the road department committee met in special session to discuss the situation and hopefully settle on a plan to recommend to the full Clark County Fiscal Court when it meets next week.

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After more than an hour of discussion, the committee voted 3-1 to change the language in the job descriptions for heavy equipment operators, equipment operators and road maintenance workers.

The new language would require new hires to have a diploma or GED, or complete a GED within a year of being hired. If it’s not completed, the employee would forfeit all raises and promotions until it is achieved.

The descriptions for operators also include experience requirements, one year for equipment operators and two years for heavy equipment operators.

Wilson, Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulos and committee member Stephen Berry voted in favor, while Magistrate Pam Blackburn voted no. The fifth seat on the committee is vacant following road department employee Harold Ballard’s recent retirement.

The Fiscal Court is scheduled to revisit the issue at its Dec. 28 meeting.

Wilson said he’s lost several employees to other jobs, some in the private sector, that pay significantly more than the county’s $9 an hour starting salary.

“A lot of people don’t realize a trade is as valuable as an education,” Wilson said.

The Fiscal Court has not approved any salary increases for positions within the road department. The court, though, has approved a new pay schedule which includes longevity raises and an annual increase for employees.

“It sounds like we’re in a conundrum between pay and job requirements,” Berry said.

Konstantopoulos said missing those raises, which would add up over time, would inspire employees to get their GED.

Berry wasn’t sure it was enough.

“You’ve got a competitive market for these jobs and not everyone’s requiring an education,” he said. “Something’s got to give. In this situation, the only thing to give is the requirements. To have (a GED) as a requirement, there’s a possibility you’re missing out on some people to fill the positions.”

Blackburn said she objected because she felt altering the job descriptions and requirements for the road department meant they would have to apply it to all county departments.

“I have a problem with changing policy to hire a person,” she said. “I’m just not sold. I don’t think you can do one department and not do the others.”

“I have a tough time with it but I’m trying to come up with a compromise,” Konstnatopoulos said.

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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