March 25, 2015

County vacation policy moved forward

By Chris Erickson

The policy that would extend the number of hours a Mercer County employee could accrue was heard for the second time this past week, with plenty of discussion for and against it.
Mercer County Roads Department Secretary Rachel Grimm filled in for the county auditor during the meeting. She read Policy 303 aloud to remind those in attendance on the wording.
The policy would extend the amount of vacation hours an employee could accrue from 240 hours to 320 hours. The current cap is 240, with anything over that getting paid out. If the 320 cap were put into place, any hours over that number would not be paid out.
Commissioner Wes Gunsch said that there were pros and cons to it.
“On one hand, 320 hours can give someone a cushion if they need more sick leave or time off for a family or personal situation,” he said. “As far as financial liability to the county when someone retires or quits it would be a financial burden to us, but it wouldn’t be every year like it has been since, in the past, they’ve been paid for everything over 240 at the end of the year.”
Veterans Services Officer Ron Crowley, a member of the county policy committee, said the policy had been put together because there were employees of certain county departments who were unable to take vacation at times and should have a bit more to take when they finally have the opportunity to do so.
Commissioner Duane Scheurer said that he would like to see people start taking time off, as that was what vacations were for. He added that employees should feel encouraged to take the vacation time that they earn by working.

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