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JPs create, fund county's new overtime policy

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The Garland County Quorum Court appropriated $606,611 in unprojected 2017 revenues Monday night to pay out more than 10,000 hours of 2018 compensatory time off that four departments accrued through May 7 and fund overtime expenses through the end of the year.

The appropriation funds the new overtime policy justices of the peace also adopted Monday night, giving county employees time-and-a-half pay for hours earned in excess of the regular workweek instead of paid time off that accrued at a rate of one and a half hours for every hour of overtime.

Monetary compensation in lieu of paid time off is expected to create scheduling flexibility for department heads and avoid costly payouts of comp-time accruals to employees who leave or are terminated.

Unwieldy accruals hamstrung departments operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, such as the Garland County Sheriff's Department and adult and juvenile detention centers. Paid time off deputies had to use within six months of its accrual often required those filling in for them to work in excess of the department's regular 43-hour workweek, leading to even larger accruals supervisors had to schedule around during future pay periods.

The sheriff's department had 1,956 hours of 2018 comp time through May 7, requiring a $44,791 payout for the hours, 7.65-percent Social Security match and 14.75-percent employer contribution to the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System.

Sheriff Mike McCormick told the quorum court's Finance Committee last week he expects patrol deputies to receive no more than $2,000 each in annual overtime pay.

"That's hours worked on the street, court time, training time," McCormick said. "Those are huge issues. Someone going to court, getting called in for some type of emergency and SWAT training, those are horrendous on comp-time.

"I don't want people putting in 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there. I'm looking more at if someone is at a training course, or when we call people in, that they're compensated with overtime."

Responding to JPs who asked if it's more economical to hire additional deputies instead of using overtime to offset the department's lack of public safety personnel, McCormick said the three deputy positions that could be added to the payroll with funds earmarked for overtime would not have a significant effect on scheduling.

The department has about 30 patrol deputy positions budgeted for 2018, all of which McCormick said were filled as of last week. Personnel accounts for almost 80 percent of the department's $4.88 million budget. The 5,432 hours of 2018 comp time accrued through May 7 at the adult detention center were the most of any department, requiring a $111,797 payout from the three-eighths cent sales tax-supported Detention Facility Fund.

"The sheriff's office is a large operation," he said. "They would be spread out so thin it would make very little difference in the overall operation. If you put one additional person in detention, where you have four shifts, you have three shifts it wouldn't effect.

"On patrol, you have four shifts working 24/7. Putting another man on patrol would help one shift, but you have three shifts it wouldn't affect. It would have a negligible effect on the other shifts."

Comp-time accrual payouts were also directed from the General Fund to the Juvenile Detention Maintenance and Operation Budget, 395 hours -- $7,728, and 911 Dispatch Center Budget, 501 hours -- $9,701.

The appropriation ordinance directed $24,164 from the Solid Waste Fund to pay out 1,434 hours of 2018 comp time at the Garland County Landfill, part of the $198,183 allocated for 2018 payouts. The ordinance didn't fund payouts for other departments, such as the road department, 1,216 hours, or prosecuting attorney's office, 214 hours, with large accruals.

The sheriff's department, $102,065, and adult detention center, $205,359, accounted for the bulk of the $382,190 appropriated for 2018 overtime expenses. Funds were also appropriated to overtime line items for juvenile detention, $6,148, 911 dispatch, $32,341, county clerk, $1,229, tax collector, $8,607, assessor, $2,459, general services $614, Division 2 Circuit Court, $1,229, Division 4 Circuit Court, $1,229, prosecuting attorney, $3,689, Victim's Witness Fund, $1,884, emergency management, $12,297, environmental inspections, $1,229, and residential sanitation, $614.

The overtime appropriation accounts for the 0.57-percent increase in the employer retirement contribution the APERS Board of Directors voted to put into effect later this year. Departments not receiving overtime allocations had already budgeted for it, the finance department said.

The $606,611 total appropriated Monday night includes $2,000 annual raises for nine lieutenants at the sheriff's department and detention center and $1,000 annual raises for three captains positions. Laieutenants are no longer eligible for overtime compensation under the new policy.

Per the policy, overtime expenses will be made available for the quorum court to review quarterly, but the finance department told JPs it will present a monthly report.

The $354,332 of General Fund revenue allocated for comp-time payouts and 2018 overtime expenses raises its appropriation level to 85.11 percent, leaving more than $1 million until the county reaches the 90-percent spending cap. The quorum court increased the General Fund's 2018 anticipated revenue Monday night by $373,020, money derived from 2017 receipts that exceeded revenue forecasts.

The wiandfall included unprojected revenues of $158,460 in fees the county collects from Oaklawn Racing and Gaming, $187,895 in franchise fees from utilities the county licenses and $26,665 in interest generated by the county's bank deposits.

The unprojected funds, along with $587,262 in unprojected 2017 receipts from the county's half-cent sales tax added last month to this year's anticipated General Fund revenue, lowered the appropriation rate almost seven-tenths of a percent compared to 2018 spending levels the quorum court established last year.

Local on 05/16/2018

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