February 12, 2014 Edition

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JPs to review employee policy

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

Lawrence County Justices are to review the employee policy handbook and make necessary changes to avoid confusion about comp time, vacation hours, holidays and inclement weather.

"Apparently we have to put some stuff in black and white that isn't black and white enough already," Justice Jim Jones said at the Quorum Court meeting Monday night.

Issues have arisen with employees collecting too much comp time, including a few who have gained more than 100 hours, according to reports from County Clerk Tina Stowers.

A specific area of concern is in the sheriff's department. Several employees are requesting time and a half during times they should not receive it according to current policy.

Sheriff Jody Dotson said the problem lies with employees not being aware of policy changes. "They're doing it this way because it's how it used to be done."

The justices agreed to meet again at 6 p.m. Tuesday to review the policy handbook. Once a finalized handbook is approved, it will be distributed to all county employees. Signed documentation will be kept at the county clerk's office for each employee who receives a copy.

"I just want to go over everything and make sure it's adhered to," Dotson said.

Also at the meeting, Josh Bryan, Lawrence Hall administrator, gave a presentation on the new assisted living facility to be built on the west end of Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

The 36-bed facility will be the first of its kind in Lawrence County. There will be 10 beds dedicated to Alzheimer's and dementia patients with the rest being divided into private and semi-private rooms.

Residents will be accepted according to their activities and daily living capabilities such as being able to cook and clean.

"Some don't qualify to live at a nursing home but still can't live alone. This fills that void," Bryan said.

The court passed a resolution to authorize County Judge Dale Freeman to apply for funding from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development to acquire, construct and equip the facility. The resolution also appointed Rose Law Firm as bond counsel.

Also at the meeting:

  • Justice Jones introduced an ordinance requiring commercial burning to be reported prior to the fire. The purpose is to prevent fire departments from being unnecessarily dispatched. Failure to report commercial burning could result in fines from $25 to $1,000. The ordinance passed 6-1.

  • the court discussed damages to the Jerry and Donna Moore Memorial Arena Building caused by frozen pipes breaking and flooding the building. The flooding caused significant damage to the plumbing and paneling of the county building. Freeman will look into the building's insurance and the court will act at the Tuesday night meeting.

  • justices approved the amount of $5,336.84 from an Arkansas Economic Development Commission grant to be used in the development of county roads 440 and 441.

  • a GIF-1 Community Enhancement grant in the sum of $25,000 was approved to be used on further development of the Lawrence County Shooting Range.

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