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Davison County commissioners turn back grievance

The Davison County Commission heard a grievance Tuesday from the local Teamsters union regarding hours worked in a week and sick pay, but sided with existing county policy in the end.

Brian Nowak of Teamsters Local 120 brought a grievance to the commission regarding a Davison County jail employee who called in sick on her first day of the pay period and then worked the following Saturday, which was originally a scheduled day off. On her paycheck, the employee was given three hours of sick pay, instead of the full work-day allotment she thought she would get.

“In this case, she didn’t come in to make up her lost time. She came in on her day off and she should be complimented for that,” Nowak said. “Working an additional day should be counted as straight time.”

Nowak was referencing a part of the county’s personnel policy that says for each day of authorized sick leave, an employee should be paid what would be equal had the employee worked a regularly scheduled shift.

Normal employees work 40-hour weeks, while jail employees have 80 hours for every two weeks worked, deputy auditor Tonya Meaney said.

The employee’s sick time is used to fill in the gap between hours worked and the cap of 80 hours for every two weeks. The rest of her sick time earned can then be saved for another time.

“It doesn’t come off their sick time and it remains in their accrued hours,” she said. “You don’t lose it.”

The union representative believed it should be a benefit that she earned and should have been paid.

“She just wants to be whole for her sick time,” Nowak said to the commission.

“And I believe she’s whole because it’s banked for her,” Commission Chairman John Claggett responded.

State’s Attorney Jim Miskimins told the commission he reviewed the grievance and the county’s personnel policy and found that the rules were properly administered in this particular instance and others like it.

Teddy Bear Treasures

The commissioners approved the move of the Teddy Bear Treasures space to the county building at 1420 N. Main Street.

The program is geared toward expecting and new mothers to incentivize participation in prenatal care programs, allowing them to earn points that can be used on various items of need, including diapers, clothes or cribs, for example. The group has been working out of the YWCA building, but participation numbers have decreased recently because Teddy Bear Treasures was not near the county’s nurses. Commissioner Kim Weitala said it’s important for the program to operate out of the county’s location and have the resources as close together as possible.

“A lot of these people are restricted as far as travel is concerned,” she said. “If they only get one ride, they’re going to go where the nurses are.”

The group will meet every second Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the month in a break room that is unused at the North Annex location, and the room will still be available for other uses during the rest of the month. Teddy Bear Treasures, which is funded mostly by grant money, will pay $1 annually for use of the county’s space.

Other business

In other business, commissioners:

  • Discussed the removal of the law library from the fourth floor of the county courthouse. The county currently has a law library computer terminal at the county Public Safety Building and at the courthouse. No final decision has been made yet, but State’s Attorney Miskimins and the county bar association support the transition to just one terminal, which would be available at the Public Safety Building at all times with the assistance of the sheriff’s department. The existing law library may be donated to area groups that are interested or otherwise made available through surplus.  

  • Discussed a cabinet location for the deputy who will be stationed in the central corridor of the courthouse. Sheriff Steve Brink said a deputy will be hired soon and the commission will look into options for the desk or working area.

  • Weed supervisor Clayton Wells presented his 2013 annual report for the Davison County Weed and Pest Board, showing the county sprayed more than 600 miles of county roads and more than 850 miles of township roads in 2013, counting the miles for both ditches of the roadway.

  • Approved the notice of bids for highway department supplies, upcoming asphalt projects and the weed and pest board’s chemical requirements to be opened next month.

  • Approved the sealed bid notice for four graders and two wheel loaders that the county has deemed as surplus property. Those bids will be accepted until March 24.

  • Tabled a memorandum of understanding with South Dakota State University Extension over an annual agreement until the next meeting.

  • Approved the nomination of Commissioner Denny Kiner to serve as the county’s representative for the Lower James Resource Conservation and Development board, which is comprised of 30 county and municipal governments.

  • Made a motion to support the application for a grant for a safehouse program.

  • Approved outstanding bills and timesheets.