Chesterton Tribune



Shorthanded Porter County park board nixes overtime request

Back To Front Page



The Porter County Park Board discussed offering overtime pay and comp time to two employees at its meeting last night.

Parks Superintendent Walter Lenckos asked that the Board approve him going before the County Council later this month to get approval to transfer $8,888 from salaries to overtime to pay two employees who worked significant overtime to make up the work of a program coordinator who left in May--while the planning for Camp Funset and other summer activities was in full swing.

Lenckos reported the employees accumulated a combined 445 hours of comp time. Lenckos has formed a plan to provide the comp time without leaving himself too short-staffed, but brought up overtime pay because the money is there, in the form of the funds that were meant for the employee who left.

Board President Craig Kenworthy asked Lenckos if he had run the idea of paying overtime past any elected officials, County Council members in particular. Lenckos said he hadn’t contacted the Council, but he did consult County Auditor Vicki Urbanik and the County’s Human Resources director.

Kenworthy asked, “Are you aware of any other departments paying overtime instead of comp time? Is this a precedent? Is this something nobody else does?”

Lenckos responded that the Park Department is one of the County departments that does pay out overtime, but they are at the bottom of the list for how much. The Highway Department, the Sheriff’s Department, and the Jail are three other county entities that pay overtime. “I don’t think we’re breaking any ground here,” Lenckos said.

Board Vice-president Rich Hudson asked, “This is a unique situation brought on by someone leaving?” Lenckos confirmed and said that the question of paying out comp time or overtime is new this year due to the County’s new timekeeping and attendance policy for employees. “We had the flexibility previously to say ‘this is how we’re gonna make up the time later on.’”

Lenckos said the two employees worked some 70 to 80-hour weeks. Board member David Canright reminded the Board that the employees weren’t being paid for 70 hours of work. “They were getting their regular paychecks,” and they worked the extra time knowing that Board approval would decide how they were compensated for it.

Member Drew Armstrong didn’t object to paying overtime. “It’s money being used to pay for work that was in the budget before.”

Canright noted that a yay or nay from the Council this month could be beneficial. “If we do it now and find out we have to give comp time, it might be better to give it out now while we’re not working on Winter Lights,” Canright said.

“I’d be much more comfortable with this if you had talked to somebody from the Council,” Kenworthy repeated.

The transfer request failed in a three to one vote when Kenworthy objected.

Kenworthy’s vote decided the matter last night because only four of six board members were present. State law dictates that four votes are required to pass any measure, regardless of how many members are in attendance.

Purdue Extension representative Annetta Jones was absent, and Chris Richardson, the County Commissioners’ appointee, was absent--as he has been since February.

According to Lenckos, Richardson has communicated to the Board that he is no longer available to fill his designated seat and said he sent a formal resignation to the Commissioners.

Richardson’s absence reduces the Park Board to a five-member body until his replacement is appointed. Lenckos said, to his knowledge, the Commissioners have taken no action to replace Richardson.



Posted 9/7/2018







Search This Site:

Custom Search