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Friday, May 6, 2016

Bridges discovers budget shortfall

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

GREENCASTLE -- Putnam County Judge Denny Bridges discovered his budget would have a deficient at the end of year because of the retirement of one of his staff members.

He appeared before Putnam County Commissioners Monday evening to ask permission to move some of his staff around due to the retirement of his office manager Judy Clifford. In discussing the moves, he explained that Clifford had never used any sick time and will be paid $3,000 for that unused time.

"The county policy since 1999 is to pay $50 per unused sick day up to 60 days," explained Commissioner Kristina Warren. "Nobody uses them for years and then the department is slammed when somebody leaves."

Bridges finds his department in a dilemma because of the sick time payout.

"When I took office, my staff included three fulltime people and one part time. I want to move one of my current staff into Judy's job and move my part time person into that person's desk," explained Bridges.

He told commissioners his current staff is working excess hours to try to keep up with the load in his court.

"A lot of things have deadlines on them and have to be prepared by that date," he said.

After 40 hours, staff must be paid time and a half.

"That's the law. It makes more sense to hire a part time person than to pay all the comp time," commented Commissioner Jim Baird.

Commissioners approved the change in staff and recommended Bridges go before the county council to request additional funds for his budget.

Credit cards for Bridges and Judge Matt Headley were also approved with a limit of $1,500. Both men attend judicial meetings that require travel.

"This makes it much easier to pay," added Warren.

Putnam County Chief Deputy Doug Nally asked commissioner to review the contract between the county and Operation Life, the county's ambulance service.

"Since they are county funded, Steve Fenwick (Sheriff) is looking for something to be done about the amount the jail is charged when a convict has to be transported," explained Nally.

"The bills say they give us a discount, but we are paying $600 to $800 or more to take them from the jail to the hospital just down the road. Is there some way to meet halfway on the charges?" he asked.

Warren who serves on the board at Operation Life offered to discuss the matter with that board.

Nally also discussed an issue with people who have been ticketed and fined by Putnam County Animal Control and where to pay the fines.

"People have been coming to the jail to try to pay their fines. We sent them to the clerk's office and they are sending them to us," said Nally.

Because the clerk's office does not have an account set up to write receipts, they cannot take the money.

"We've been telling people to disregard the fines because we have no way to collect," added Nally. "Some of those fines are $150."

Warren offered to set up an account through the auditor's office, but county attorney Scott Hoff objected.

"They should be going through the clerks office. But, not all of them are criminal offenses. There is nothing in the ordinance that defines where they pay the fine. We had this discussion when we put the ordinance in effect and it needs to be resolved," said Hoff.

He will work with the clerk's office and sheriff's department to resolve the issue.

County Planner Kim Hyten told commissioners he had applied for and received a permit from the State to remove some parking spots on S.R. 231 on the west side of the courthouse where work will soon commence on the sidewalk area.

"The state did recommend we try to stay off the southeast corner where the trucks make the turn. We'll keep all the equipment toward the other end," he said.

He also gave the group an addendum to the request for proposal for a new telephone system in the courthouse. This included a date of July 31 for bid response, raising the number of phones from 92 to 96, including a minimum of 15 fax lines and the removal of all existing wiring.

Baird questioned the number of fax lines and Hyten explained that most of those were regular phone lines with a switch that could turn on the fax line.

Baird suggested keeping options to adjust the bid process depending on the cost.

"We might want to take some lines out to adjust for cost," he said.

Commissioners passed the addendum 3-0.

Jim Smith with the county highway told commissioners they needed to be aware before the winter season that the department's trucks have a lot of miles on them.

Smith also asked the board to consider allowing the county department to do any painting and road stripping on the West Walnut Street project if costs start to run over.

"The county is 100 percent responsible for any overages. If we watch it and see it is going over, the county highway department can do the stripping and any painting to save money," he said.

The Putnam County Museum board asked commissioners to consider holding one of their Monday morning meetings at the museum as a way to help promote the facility.

"I don't see any problem with doing that. We need to be sure and invite all their board members to come to the meeting," said Commissioner Gene Beck.

Because of the opening of bids at the August meeting, commissioners decided to offer to hold a meeting on either Sept. 8 or Oct. 5 depending upon the museums availability.

Putnam County commissioners meet on the first and third Monday of the month at the county annex at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. respectively.

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Use to have to pay animal fines at the City Police Dept. Can't that still be done until the mess is straightened up?

-- Posted by mad-mom on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 9:54 AM


-- Posted by senior'08 on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 10:01 AM

Collecting for unused sick days is an obvious loop hole. However, nowdays, some people also earn paid time off for good attendance. My question is, what kind of person would accept pay like this?

-- Posted by Xgamer on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 10:35 AM

I'm simply agreeing with bondsman on this one. $3K is a lot to slam an employer at one time. This isn't private industry offering percs. Is it not a job funded by taxpayers money?

And I have had paid days off for attendance, paid vacations, but never asked for them.

If you have a job and you think you DESERVE time off just for showing up for your JOB, and you think you DESERVE pay for unused sick days, doesn't make you exactly "smart".

-- Posted by Xgamer on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 4:20 PM

smallgov, you are talking in circles. Then you say something brilliant like "you have to take what you can get".

That whole attitude is exactly what I'm talking about. This modern day American Dream of "Getting all you can Get". The only ambition most people are exhibiting is getting more for nothing.

Nothing illegal has been done with this woman getting $3K. In an earlier post I questioned what kind of person would accept pay like this. I'm guessing that the majority of people reading would take the $3K of taxpayers money, without batting an eyelash. But in the future, we will need "bigger__gov__now" to afford to pay it.

-- Posted by Xgamer on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 8:43 AM

Bless you small_gov. Your words clarify my point. I can safely say you are one of "them". Just another brick in the wall (Pink Floyd).

I never said it made you a bad person to accept this kind of bonus. I never said it made you a good person either.

What does it say for the American workforce when companies have to bribe people to be on time and have good attendance? And "unused sickpay"? Do we need rewarded for good health? Isn't being healthy reward enough?

My outlook is definitely among the minority view. Carry on with your percs and bonuses. Good luck with all of that. Stay with the flock, don't stray away and do as you are told.

-- Posted by Xgamer on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 7:54 AM

Wow, you got me on that one. I feel like I've had the sense blogged into me. You are right. What was I thinking? I've had it wrong all these years. Please, share more of your wisdom with me and the county.

What do YOU think is the best solution for the $3000 shortage of funds?

I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. Gonna be a bright, sunshiney day!

-- Posted by Xgamer on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 12:57 PM

I am so grateful I work for the State of Indiana instead of the county.I get sick days-personal time,vacation time and if I work overtime-comp time. I earn them and if I left my job I would get that pay. I also work 36 hr then 48 hr in one pay period and some hrs are put on the 36hr week. I get paid for my lunch everyday and 5 hours overtime and most years get 14 or 15 holidays i get paid for.And by gosh I earn them-so do the folks working in this county.

-- Posted by bam on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 1:14 PM

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