The Pulaski County Coroner’s Office is facing a staffing shortage, following the resignation of the chief deputy. Coroner John Behny told the county council last week that his lone deputy Jon Frain had “had enough.” “I not only lost my chief deputy,” he said. “I also lost a facility for which to check the bodies over and do our autopsies and so forth. I’ve lost all of that. I’ve lost storage of our files. I’ve actually gone backwards. I’ve gone from having an office. I got displaced. I have nothing. Our building isn’t going to be ready for some time.”
Pulaski County Building Department Assistant Karla Kreamer will apparently remain at part-time status for now. After multiple lengthy discussions Monday, the county council decided not to take any action to change her employment to full-time, despite a favorable recommendation from the county commissioners.
The Pulaski County Council almost forgot to adopt the 2019 budget Monday. The approval finally came after more than four hours of occasionally contentious discussions but relatively little action on several budget-related items.
Pulaski County Building Inspector Doug Hoover is urging the county council to upgrade his assistant to full-time status. “We’ve got a person that deals with money, does everything with the computer, has got real estate license, got many different things, and you know what? The janitor that pushes a broom makes one dollar more than she does,” Hoover told council members during last week’s public hearing on the 2019 budget. “I’m not very pleased with that.”
Pulaski County’s salary matrix will soon get an overhaul. That was the promise council member Scott Hinkle gave after department heads voiced concerns during last week’s public hearing on the 2019 budget.
If Pulaski County doesn’t take action to secure its court system, the state may decide to step in. That’s what Circuit Court Judge Michael Shurn told the county council Monday. “The Supreme Court promulgates what we call administrative rules,” he explained. “Security’s always been in the administrative rules. And they had a committee that suggested ‘should’ in some of the stuff. And the board which controls all of the judges sent to the Supreme Court the rule I gave you, which was created by the committee, again, with revisions, and it said ‘It shall,’ not ‘should.’”
Confusion remains over Pulaski County’s salary matrix, in spite of a new set of written guidelines. Last month, the county council adopted a written set of “Matrix Rules” to help department heads interpret the pay structure that’s already in place. But during last week’s meeting, Auditor Laura Wheeler said the matrix itself would have to be updated to comply with the guidelines, and presented a proposed update to the salary ordinance.
The Pulaski County Coroner’s Office is pushing the county council and commissioners to finalize the purchase of the former Winamac Masonic Lodge as close to the original deadline as possible. Last month, the council and commissioners approved a joint ordinance to purchase the building for $50,000 from the Royal Center Masonic Lodge. The plan is to convert it into a dedicated morgue and coroner’s office, which the county has lacked until now.
The Pulaski County Council is working to make sure the maintenance department has enough money to pay its part-time employees through the end of the year. Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Johnston reminded council members Monday that they’d cut money for part-time pay when they put together this year’s budget. “You guys, at that time, told me to come back halfway through the year and request enough to cover the rest of the year,” he explained. “It’s for $30,016 for Part-Time Help.”
A part-time employee in the Pulaski County Maintenance Department will continue to make $15 an hour and won’t have to pay back a $2-per-hour raise. That was the consensus reached by the county council Monday, although no formal action was taken.
Making sure money is available to pay Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department employees was the goal of a couple budget items approved by the county council this month. To help balance the county’s General Fund budget, council members had previously moved several staff members’ salaries into other parts of the budget. But that’s led to some new issues.
Confusion about checks paid to two Pulaski County Highway Department employees led to a heated debate during last week’s county council meeting. The first had to do with $2,500 paid to Secretary Jessica Rausch for her duties as asset management coordinator. Last month, council members agreed to transfer that amount into the department’s asset management services line item. Auditor Laura Wheeler then apparently paid the money to Rausch as part of her paycheck. She asked council members last week to adjust the salary ordinance accordingly.
As the Pulaski County Council tries to clarify the county’s pay structure, department heads continue to express frustration over how it’s been implemented so far. Last month, Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Johnston complained that while two of his part-time employees got a pay raise after working for 630 hours with the apparent blessing of the council, the same increase wasn’t given to a third staff member. Now, he says the Auditor’s Office has not only taken away the raises from the first two employees, but that they’re now being asked to pay that money back. Continue reading
With construction underway on a new elevator at the Pulaski County Courthouse, the county council is working to come up with a way to pay for it. Auditor Laura Wheeler told council members Monday that while they had agreed to cover the cost, they had never actually decided which fund that money would come out of.
The Pulaski County Council is making funding arrangements to keep airport upgrades on track. Aviation Board President Jim McDaniel says Arens Field is in the process of getting more than $200,000 worth of improvements, “A new parking lot out front, more security across the fuel farm, working closer towards, someday, they’re going to request that we fence the whole place, but there’ll be a gate.”
Pulaski County will soon have written guidelines, when it comes to the county’s pay structure. County Attorney Kevin Tankersley presented an 11-page draft document to the county council Monday. It was based on recommendations from the council’s salary matrix committee.
Pulaski County officials hope to put an end to the confusion surrounding the county’s salary matrix, during a joint work session next week. The idea was raised during Monday’s county council and commissioners meetings. Highway Superintendent Terry Ruff and Sheriff Jeff Richwine again asked for guidance on a couple ongoing salary issues, but the council’s matrix committee still hadn’t met yet to discuss them. Council member Scott Hinkle suggested that the discussion take place with the full council and board of commissioners, instead.
Overtime costs continue to add up for Pulaski Circuit Court. The Pulaski County Council voted Monday to transfer $5,000 into the court’s overtime budget from the law books line item, at the request of Judge Michael Shurn. “Last week, a two-day jury trial morphed into a four-day one,” he explained. “And I was working 16-hour days, and my staff was real close to that.”