Pocahontas Commission considers comp time, pay issues
Marlinton, W.Va. – During Tuesday’s Pocahntas County Commission meeting, the commission discussed comp time and overtime pay for county employees.
Commissioner Martin Saffer notes that the county has no comp time policy.
“There is no county commission policy about comp time,” he said. “Comp time, to me, should be defined by the county commission and it should be the same for all offices, equally. First of all, there’s no rule about it, so, each office is doing whatever they want about it and nobody’s doing it the same and that’s the number one problem.”
The commissioner says comp time pay is not included in the county budget.
“It is like a line item of overtime with no budget amount,” he said. “When an officer is dismissed or leaves or quits – whatever happens – they put in a bill for comp time and it’s paid. So, that’s an overtime that was not authorized by the commission.”
Saffer stresses the urgency of establishing a policy.
“We’ve got to put some structure to this because we’re $70,000 in debt, right now, on uncompensated comp time,”he said.
Commissioner Jamie Walker asks about holiday pay.
“The question I got – how do you accumulate holiday hours?” he asked. “Why do you not just get paid for a holiday when you work it? They’re getting paid for a holiday, regardless whether they work it or not. OK. We call them in. They get paid on their check for that holiday. Then, they’re turning around and turning in another time-and-a-half as credit. So, basically, for that day, they’re getting paid double-time-and-a-half.”
Commission assistant Sue Helton says the law requires double-time-and-a-half pay.
“I believe that the code says, if I work a holiday, I get time-and-a-half, plus my regular pay,” she said.
Saffer says the employee should be given a day off.
“We should make those people take those hours off,” he said.
A West Virginia Department of Administration employee handbook agrees with Saffer’s and Walker’s position. The handbook states that employees will be paid time-and-a-half for working holidays, and then given time off at a later date.
The commission voted 2-1 to hire Charleston attorney Joe Leonardo to help develop comp time and pay policies, and provide advice on the use of the Sheriff’s Auxiliary. Walker opposed the hiring.
Architects Adam Krayson and Jill Watkins, with the Charleston firm ZMM, briefed the commission with a proposal to renovate the Circuit courtroom.
Krason identifies deficiencies with the current courtroom.
“The existing courtroom – some issues that were addressed were the judge’s bench, the clerk’s desk and the fact that you can’t see the witness stand, the gallery seating not being accessible, the judge’s office being inadequate,” he said.
The architects estimated the project cost at $430,000 and said grant funding was available from a variety of agencies, including the State Supreme Court and State Historic Preservation Office. The architects agreed to investigate the sources and amount of funding available.
The commission unanimously accepted a bid for $14,350 from Creative Builders for renovation of an electronic equipment room in the Courthouse.
In other business, the commission re-appointed James Bullard, Stella Callison, Morgan McComb and Jesse Groseclose to the Farmland Protection Board.