July 1, 2013

Court approves changes to personnel policy

DUI, drug arrests while on job will result in immediate termination

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A more defined description in the county’s personnel policy was approved unanimously by magistrates on Thursday morning at the regular monthly meeting of the Laurel County Fiscal Court. The revised personnel policy  stemmed from a recent incident involving a county employee and was called a “pro-active” measure by Laurel County Judge Executive David Westerfield.

Ordinance 230.5, revised from Ordinance 230.4, specifically outlines employees of the county government “require a high level of personal character” and notes certain qualities that could disqualify an applicant from being hired. Use of drugs and alcohol, felony convictions or domestic violence, narcotic or dangerous drugs, marijuana use or possession, and more than two DUI convictions or public intoxication within five years or falsifying information are all terms of the new policy.

“Employees arrested for DUI or under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on the job will be terminated immediately,” the new policy states.

County employees who are arrested for similar offenses while off duty are required to report to the County Judge Executive within three days of the incident, and the Judge Executive then has the option for disciplinary action up to immediate termination. Should termination not be the case, the Ethics Committee will review the incident and make their recommendations back to the Judge Executive within 10 days.

Any accidents involving county property will require the machine operator to submit for an immediate breathalyzer and urine test, a variation from the previous policy that mandated such action within an eight-hour time frame.

The policy was also revised that any employee who refuses to take a drug test will be terminated immediately.

In other actions, the Laurel County Fiscal Court:

• Approved the Administrative Code for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, noting there were no changes from the previous Administrative Code.

• Approved Tom Jones on the County Board of Appeals, to replace Barbara Flannery.

• Voted unanimously on the final approval to include J. Crews Road in District 2 and Harrod Branch Road Exit in District 3 into the county road system.

• Established a committee to review Robinson Spur Road and report back at the July regular monthly meeting.

• Approved purchasing two tandem trucks from the state surplus at $12,000 each, which will be used by the county’s road department.

• Agreed to hold a special-called meeting next week concerning purchasing a road tractor. Magistrate Jeff Book questioned authorizing the purchase, while District 1 magistrate Roy Crawford said the road crew had been checking the tractor and were conducting test drives on Thursday. Westerfield, who first asked for approval to purchase the road tractor, said if the tractor did not meet the specifications and expectations of the road crew, the tractor would not be purchased. But he agreed to hold a special-called meeting next week to review whether the road department felt the tractor in good condition to consider as a justifiable purchase.

• Approved the audit of the Laurel County Clerk’s Office for the calendar year ending on Dec. 31, 2012.

• Praised the contributions of the Laurel County Jail’s work release crews that have assisted in cleaning 104 different cemeteries throughout the county. These cemeteries, according to Jailer Jamie Mosley, are cleaned three times per year by the work release crews, which Westerfield said was a great help for the citizens of the county.