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By Tamee Ryan

 

 

Hamilton County commissioners discussed new financial system and overtime policies Tuesday morning.

“Trial balances are being put into the new financial system for 2014 to 2016 and we went live June 1, ahead of schedule,” said county auditor Kent Reeves.

County employees in Hamilton get to work with an express module for the new software that is in premarket.

“It’s going to be very good for Hamilton County,” said Shawna Dyer, treasurer.

It is cutting down on paper use, and employees are already doing budgets in the new system. Reeves imported three years’ worth of budgets from the old system so the program has a history.

“Anything we update automatically imports,” said Reeves.

Overtime policy was addressed, which raised the question as to whether additional language should be added to the policy for law enforcement officers.

“It is my recommendation that we discuss and get a track to follow to see if we want to add additional language,” said county judge Mark Tynes.

“We have adopted FLSA guidelines, which say 40 hours is standard for everyone but law enforcement, which is 80 to 86. This is not time and a half, but is still overtime. We set our budget on 2080 hours, so our policies are somewhat in conflict with each other. We are agreeing with FLSA guidelines that these hours are overtime, but it is straight pay overtime, not time and a half,” Tynes continued.

The county sheriff has addressed the issue with his staff, but doesn’t have an answer for the issues in the jail. Seven qualified people is a skeleton crew. Currently, there are five employees and two trainees. Training time is four to six weeks typically, but is at discretion of administration.

“Standard stuff isn’t the issue fully-qualified, but if there’s an event – fire, accident, etc. – it takes time getting comfortable,” said Tynes, who also suggested that the crew be allowed more hours until the staff is adequately staffed and trained.

Commissioner Dickie Clary said the department is under different circumstances that haven’t applied historically, regarding inmate transport and inability to house inmates locally.

“Transports eat up hours, and there’s nothing that can be done for that. It is hard to come up with a number of hours if you don’t know exactly about transports,” said justice of the peace James Lively.

Tynes noted that in Bosque County, they have 10 dispatchers, and that is adequate.

“If all they’re doing is dispatch, seven is adequate, but when they’re pulled to transport, that’s where our issues lie,” said Tynes.

“We don’t have to make any changes today, but we have a department out of compliance and we have addressed it. He has addressed it, and until it can be back in compliance, what are our options? There are provisions to allow us to exceed to declare an emergency. The sheriff is telling us there’s an emergency, but this is an unbudgeted item. It is a liability,” said Tynes.

The court agreed to put the item back on the agenda to address the specific situation.

Richard Layne expressed concern for line item contingencies, and described them as “another method of deficit spending.”

There were no budget amendments or line item transfers, and the consent agenda was approved, along with bills submitted for payment for $82,594.70.

The court did not approve a burn ban.

The court approved the use of the southeast corner of the parking lot for a car wash by Living Hope Outreach youth group on Aug. 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., as well as three requests for the chamber to use the courthouse steps for Dove Festival Oct. 28, Hamilton Hollydays Nov. 16 and Christmas on the Square Dec. 7.

The court appointed Sheriff Caraway as the local rabies control authority and approved an interlocal agreement between Coryell County and Hamilton County regarding the county’s obligation to indigent patients not in the hospital district.

They also approved a resolution authorizing a county grant to provide home-delivered meals to homebound persons in the county.

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