Road department ‘protects taxpayers’ with CDL policy change

Published 10:50 am Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The last time the road department funded an employee to get a CDL, that employee quickly turned around and found another job.

County engineer Russell Oliver said the situation doesn’t happen all that often necessarily, but he came before the Pike County Commission Monday to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Oliver proposed that the county approve a policy requiring reimbursement by the employee if he or she leaves the department within 12 months of receiving his or her CDL.

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“We need to protect the taxpayers’ investment,” Oliver said. “We like for all operators, or as many as possible, to have CDL licenses for a lot of our vehicles such as dump trucks.”

Oliver said “several hundred dollars” are spent by the department each time an employee goes through the process of obtaining a license.

“That’s just the use of our equipment and allowing them to take the test on county time, those kinds of things,” Oliver said. “In addition to that, there are training costs incurred over a long period of time that are a little bit harder to track.”

The commission unanimously approved to move forward with the policy change pending a rewrite of the resolution to specifically list out the items for which the employee would be expected to reimburse the county.

“The premise is if we pay you to get a CDL and you use that training to go out and get a new job within 12 months, you’re going to reimburse us for that training,” said Commissioner Chad Copeland, District 4.

The commission agreed that those expenses would be deducted from the employee’s final paycheck if they leave voluntarily within that 12-month period. It would not be deducted, the commission said, for involuntarily leaving the position such as an employee being fired or resigning due to health reasons.

The commission also approved the resignation of chief accountant Debra Gibson. “Thank you for all your years of service,” said Chairman Robin Sullivan. “We wish you well in all your future endeavors; we know you will do well.”

County administrator McKenzie Wilson said the commission should look at other options before moving forward with a replacement for Gibson.

In other business, the commission:

• Approved for the road department to advertise in-house for an operator 3 position.

• Approved the advertising of bids for the Industrial Access project to construct a new road around the Rex Lumber facility site.

• Approved a one-year extension on a contract with Haynes Ambulance for ambulatory services, piggybacking on approval from the cities of Troy and Brundidge. This is the final extension allowed under the current contract.

The Pike County Commission will meet again Monday, December 10, upstairs at the Pike County Health Department. The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. and will be followed by the regular business meeting at 6 p.m.