Following an approximate 80-minute discussion on Tuesday, Nov. 30, the supervisors again tabled action on an increase pay for regular hours and also for compensation for 180 hours of overtime (about …
Following an approximate 80-minute discussion on Tuesday, Nov. 30, the supervisors again tabled action on an increase pay for regular hours and also for compensation for 180 hours of overtime (about $9,000 in pay), from August through November, for Washington County Ambulance Services Director Jeremy Peck.
The extra hours reflect the county’s problems with hiring qualified paramedics, necessitating Peck to cover shifts as needed. Further challenges to the department have come in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic since early 2020.
While the supervisors agreed Peck would be compensated, there were questions regarding how the overtime rate would be figured, since there are five different pay levels in the department, and if they applied depending on which duties he covered.
Peck also noted that he had fully documented all the extra hours and duties, something that the board had been informed about regularly since August. At one point Peck asked if the pay raise would be approved, but not compensation for the overtime. Board members Richard Young and Jack Seward, Jr. assured him he would be paid for the time worked.
At one point, the public health interim administrator, Chris Estle noted that in Jefferson County, where she is the administrator, her board approved a one-time hazard payment of $10,000 for all the department employees. It was to cover extra hours and services relating from COVID-19.
Chairman Young, noting the separate issues, asked to have work session to discuss rates, shifts, hours and obtaining more personnel. It was set for 10 a.m. Monday, December 6.
However, County Attorney John Gish, who joined the meeting in progress, noted that proposed pay (or other) changes would be changes in Peck’s employment contract and that the only way to amend a contract is in writing. Explaining that he did not have all the information regarding the issue, he suggested they contact consulting attorney William Supple in Iowa City for clarification regarding amending the contract.
Peck asked if a lawyer had been involved with the contract initially. Told no, he said then it was an agreement between him and the board. After some further details regarding the pay scale and compensation, both of which were delayed for the last two weeks, Young said it will be an agenda/action item for the December 7 meeting. He also told Peck he would get his raise and apologized for the delay and confusion.
In other business, the board approved changing the mileage rate for employee’s using their own vehicles on county business from the 39-cent rate to the 56-cent federal rate. The change, making the rate consistent with federal payment, goes into effective January 1, 2022. It will b e a change in the employee handbook.
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