Supervisors approve changes to employee handbooks

The supervisors agreed to proceed with updates to the county’s personnel handbook and safety policy.
Montgomery County Auditor Jill Ozuna said she had physically met with the committee and did a review of the safety police for the county, and it met committee approval.
“The information will go to print and PDF format with the handbook submittal, as a separate entity. We made one change and did a few minor changes as far as wording,” Ozuna advised. “The courthouse does have a panic alarm system through IT, and we added wording that said it would be tested bi-annually. I’ll work with IT director Sonia Morrison on that. The system can be put into test mode and each office can press their button. It will go through the system and Sonia will be able to confirm the system is working.”
Ozuna said the review of the personnel handbook policy was much more extensive and there were some changes.
“One of the changes was the change in how overtime is paid. Holidays and vacation shall be counted as hours worked for the purposes of determining overtime. Sick time and comp time leave will not be counted as hours worked for determining overtime,” Ozuna said.
One of the other major changes had to do with the policy of meals per diem.
“I actually met with several auditors who do the meals per diem. It was actually encouraged by state auditors because it’s easier for auditing purposes to not have to find receipts and reduce paperwork. The way it works is that the person goes to the website and puts in the zip code of where you’re going to be. You also have to submit an approved agenda. If breakfast, lunch, or dinner is included in a workshop, you won’t qualify for per diem that day, but if the meals aren’t included, you would qualify. It’s based on federal rates so it’s around $15 for lunch and breakfast, and dinner up to around $34,” advised Ozuna.
Supervisor Donna Robinson added if the person kept the receipt and the meal was less than the per diem amount, that policy was encouraged.
“The person doesn’t have to go for the max per diem amount. Once this is approved and sent out, it will be interesting to see who maintains keeping the receipts and who doesn’t,” Robinson said.
Ozuna said further details on the program would be provided in a staff email and shared at the next department head meeting.
In regards to the vacation policy, Ozuna said it was discussed after July 2024, all of the courthouse staff will be under the 40 hour vacation rate. Some of the courthouse staff is still under a 37.5 hour rate.
Ozuna also stated that Morrison had an addition to mobile devices used by employees at the courthouse.
“Occasional minimal personal use of county or personal cell phones is permissible per elected official or department head approval, and those officials or department heads sufficiently control the use. Employees will not be allowed to use a phone while operating a vehicle unless using a hands-free device,” Ozuna stated.
The final change to the handbook was updating the gratuity amount left after a meal to 20%, as the handbook rate remained at 15%.
The supervisors also discussed the destruction of homestead, military, and disabled veteran application copies from the auditor’s office.
Ozuna said the applications were copies, with the originals kept in the assessor’s office.
“Our records go back a long way and they fill up a lot of filing cabinet space. Since we need to free some of that space up, and since there’s really no reason to keep them in two places, we thought of this,” Ozuna said. “The records are also scanned and online, so the copies are extra and unnecessary.”
Ozuna added she wasn’t sure if she needed supervisor approval, but was seeking approval due to the sheer number of records. Ozuna said there were no issues with code.
“When it comes to record retention, they can be destroyed after the first year of taxes have been paid and the Homestead Tax credit is claimed. With the original set in the assessor’s office, I don’t need to keep a set in my office, and we have scanned them all in,” explained Ozuna.
The supervisors approved Ozuna’s request to destroy homestead, military, and disabled veteran application copies from the auditor’s office.
In other business, the supervisors:
• Approved the treasurer’s ending fund balance for July 2023, in the amount of $9,721,524.
• Approved the H34 east widening Traffic Safety Improvement Program funding to extend the agreement to be let before July 1, 2024.
• Approved a quote from Green Tree for tree trimming, at a cost of $4,500.

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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