County evaluation issue turns to pay changes|[12/30/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 30, 2005

With the issue of employee evaluations driving much of the run-up to next week’s expected appointment of county officers, some Warren County supervisors said financial incentives would have to be part of the review process.

The issue came up again in Thursday’s informal meeting of supervisors, as board members discussed the pros and cons.

District 4 Supervisor Carl Flanders is a proponent of having employees in all county departments, including those working under elected officials, go through an evaluation process spearheaded by the county administrator.

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&#8220There’s more pros to an evaluation system than not. It’s almost 2006 and it’s time for us as a board to take some steps in that direction,” Flanders said.

District 5 Supervisor Richard George spoke against any test-style evaluation system, pointing out it would lead to higher salary demands.

&#8220If you go to an employee with an evaluation and they get any kind of praise for their results, the next step is they’re looking for more money. Without fail,” George said.

Board president and District 1 Supervisor David McDonald agreed, saying putting a numerical value on an employee’s performance will &#8220have to have money attached to it for it to mean anything.”

Under existing practices, employees receive across-the-board or tenure raises, or when they move into a higher-paying job description.

Measuring the quality control of the county’s work force has taken on unusually heightened importance as the county gears up to name its county officers for 2006.

With the positions of road department manager, board attorney, county engineer and engineering firm seemingly safe, first-year county administrator John Smith finds his status in doubt because of disagreements on the scope of his job description.

Flanders and District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon indicated in the meeting that the county administrator position should entail not only the county’s financial accounting but personnel issues as well.

&#8220There was an expectation that he’d handle both,” Selmon said.

McDonald and George favor the current series of events for hiring or firing department employees, usually done by a recommendation of the department manager before the full board in open session.

District 2 Supervisor William Banks, who officially took office Dec. 6, is seen as a swing vote. He said formal evaluations of each department head and employees should be done further in advance of the year’s end so that public advertisements of any job openings can be done more timely.

&#8220That way people will know where they stand and we don’t have to go through this every year,” Banks said.

In other business, the board agreed to a letter being drafted for Kansas City Southern railway and officials with Vicksburg International Tire Recycling Inc. stating two public rail crossings, one south of U.S. 80 in Bovina and one off Warriors Trail, cannot be closed in exchange for the railway building a rail crossing to access the tire facility.

The crossing would link the private Piper Drive, just off U.S. 61 North, with VITRI. Operators of the facility have expressed the need for such a crossing to improve access to the property.