Fiscal Court approves changes for road department job requirements

Published 11:50 am Thursday, December 29, 2016

While no one seemed truly happy with the compromise, the Clark County Fiscal Court voted to relax requirements for new hires for the county road department Wednesday morning.

For years, the county policy and procedure manual required a high school diploma or a GED for equipment operators at the road department. The department, though, is short several employees and hasn’t been able to fill them.

Wednesday, the Court approved a recommendation from the road department committee that any employees who do not have a GED will not be eligible for annual raises or advancement opportunities until they earn one.

“I hate to do it,” Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulus said, before making the motion for a vote. “I think this proposal is the matter we compromised on.”

Konstantopoulos and Magistrate Pam Blackburn both serve on the road department committee. During the committee meeting last week, Blackburn said she wouldn’t vote for the compromise because she believed it would need to be applied to all county departments.

“I didn’t support it in the committee meeting and I won’t support it today,” she said.

Judge-Executive Henry Branham had pushed the issue at the last fiscal court meeting Dec. 14, citing a short-handed department and the increasing threat of snow.

Reservations remained in light of the current situation.

“Other places don’t require what we require,” Magistrate Robert Blanton said. “I think we’re doing the right thing. Personally, I’m not really in favor of it.”

“After a lot of thought, I I think we ought to remove the GED from all descriptions,” Magistrate Joe Graham said. “If a person is qualified to do the job and wants to do the job, we should allow them to the job.”

New magistrate Greg Elkins, who works with heavy equipment and operators, said some of his best employees don’t have a high school diploma.

“I think this is a very good step,” he said.

In the end, Blackburn cast the only dissenting vote.

The Court also approved a proposal from Red River Lawn and Landscaping for snow removal around the courthouses and other property owned by the Fiscal Court. Branham said it’s become more difficult to use prisoners from the Clark County Detention Center for such work, especially around the courthouses. The county is also obligated to make sure the courts and clerks offices are accessible by 8 a.m.

Branham said his staff contacted five companies, but only two submitted proposals. One of those, however, was ultimately withdrawn.

The proposal calls for $30 per man-hour and $120 per hour for truck work, which includes spreading salt, Branham said.

The matter was approved 4-3 with Konstantopoulos, Blanton and Blackburn voting no.

In other action, the Fiscal Court:

— accepted the 2015 tax settlement audit for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. No issues were noted by the auditors.

— approved the first reading of an ordinance to implement content-neutral standards for all signs in compliance with a ruling from the United States Supreme Court. It passed 4-3 with magistrates Daniel Konstantopoulos, Joe Graham and Greg Elkins voting no.

— appointed Elkins to the county road department and insurance committees. Konstantopoulos was appointed to the county fire department committee. The changes were in response to the resignation of former magistrate Matt Brinegar.

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 fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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