BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS
GILMER–Upshur County Commissioners Court on Thursday (Nov. 15) will consider approving a “request for proposals” for a health insurance consultant, and consider appointing a constable for Precinct 3.
Those are among 19 items on the agenda, counting such routine items as the invocation and adjournment, for the 9 a.m. meeting on the third floor of the Upshur County Courthouse. Except for a closed session to interview applicants for the constable position, the meeting is open to the public.
A committee, recently appointed by the court, recommended seeking the insurance consultant, said Precinct 3 Commissioner Frank Berka. He, Pct. 1 Commissioner Paula Gentry, and a number of county employees served on the committee.
The court has struggled with the increasing cost of health insurance, and recently dropped a Gilmer insurance firm as its broker on that item.
Commissioners will also consider appointing a replacement for former Precinct 3 Constable Stanley Jenkins, who resigned effective Oct. 31 after suffering a stroke several months earlier. Jenkins was honored at a reception at the courthouse Oct. 30, receiving a plaque from County Judge Dean Fowler and an American flag from Sheriff Larry Webb.
Under one agenda item Thursday, the court will interview the constable applicants. Under another agenda item, the court will return to open session to possibly vote on naming Jenkins’ replacement.
The court is also to address three proposals involving employee pay.
One is paying “unused vacation time to exempt employees leaving 48 hours on books going forward and unused vacation time will not be paid at termination.”
Berka said Monday this proposal applies to employees who are exempt from receiving overtime pay. Those with unused vacation time would receive pay for it, and all exempt employees would be given 48 hours of such time “so they will all be equal,” but any unused vacation time would not be paid when the person leaves the county’s employment, he said.
Another proposal involving workers’ pay on Thursday’s agenda is issuing a written order to elected officials concerning “the order in which the use of compensatory or vacation time is to be used for paid leave.”
Berka explained that while the federal goverment requires paying compensatory time, paying vacation time is an optional benefit. Since the county might someday decide paying vacation time is unaffordable, the proposal would require paying compensatory time before vacation time, he said.
The third proposal is approving holiday pay for the 2018-19 budget year.
Also Thursday, the court will consider three items related to how the county’s four justice of the peace courts receive fines. They include:
–Terminating nCourt contracts for all four justices.
–Contracting with NETDATA for credit card payment services for all four.
–Approving contracts with Graves Humphries Stahl, LTD (GHS) for court collection services for all four.
In other business Thursday, commissioners will consider:
–Executing a contract with Zuercher Technologies (which has already been selected as the provider) for a public safety software system for the sheriff’s office. A state grant will cover the $356,000 cost.
–Approving a system purchase agreement with Motorola for a radio system for the sheriff’s office.
–Accepting donation from unnamed local businesses of computer tablets, keyboards and installation equipment for sheriff’s patrol vehicles.
–Placing “no trucks” signs on Daffodil Road.
–Canvassing results from the Nov. 6 general election.
–Allowing use of the courthouse lawn and a county-owned vacant lot downtown for the Cherokee Rose Festival and Art Walk next May 11.
–Approving out-of-state travel by Julie York, a county extension agent.