County workers get extra holiday

Auditors increase fee 40 percent

Staff reporter

Fairness for all county offices was the reason Marion County Clerk Carol Maggard asked Marion County Commission Monday to make a decision whether all county offices, particularly those located at the courthouse, should remain open all day Dec. 31 or not.

In the end, the commission decided to give employees the afternoon off, beginning at 1 p.m., with pay. Those who have to stay on the job, dispatchers, sheriff's deputies, and transfer station employees, would receive four hours of holiday pay.

Previously courthouse offices closed at noon to the public because auditors would physically go to each office to close out the books for the year. New auditing practices no longer require the presence of auditors but courthouse offices continued to close to the public at noon on the last day of the year to do internal housekeeping to prepare for the new year.

However, not all office staffs were staying with some taking the afternoon off with pay while others remained.

Options considered were to be open all day to the public or close at noon. Employees could have been forced to use vacation or compensatory time if they wanted to take the afternoon off.

The commission agreed that some departments, like the transfer station, needed to be open to serve the public and should remain open all day Dec. 31.

The approval of the extra holiday was just for this year and the issue will be re-addressed next year.

And on the topic of auditors, Maggard informed the commission that the county's auditors, Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd, was increasing its contract more than $12,000.

Maggard said since 2002, auditors' expenses had increased about $1,500-$2,000 each year. Last year, for the 2006 audit, the cost was $28,382. This year, for the 2007 audit, the cost would be $40,600.

The cost increase partly is due to new tax regulations for government entities that the auditors have to follow.

Dallke said the services from the auditors have been "efficient and helpful but any time there is an increase like this, it's time to look around and see what else is out there."

Holub said he would like to talk with auditor Scot Loyd about the increase and wanted to remain with the firm.

"Scot can tell us what happened 10 years ago," Holub said. "If we change auditors, we'll lose that."

Loyd will be placed on the agenda at a future commission meeting.

In other business:

— The commission approved the remainder of the allotted amount be paid to Harvey/Marion County Community Development Disability Organization.

Previously the money was budgeted to be paid to Northview Developmental Services of Newton. Issues with meeting state requirements led to a new CDDO being formed of which Dallke is a representative. ResCare is providing support services to the organization. The commission approved the final payment of $55,600, which was the budgeted amount.

The commission discussed options regarding paying mileage to clients who are Marion County residents.

— The last water monitoring for the year was Tuesday at the former county landfill site. The county was required to obtain four samples from the water wells this year but consultant Jack Chappelle will ask to the state to consider the requirement of two samples next year.

— David Mueller was re-appointed to serve another three-year term on Marion County Planning Commission.

Other positions up for appointment are Mary Avery of Peabody and Willie Ensz of Hillsboro.

The next commission meeting is at 9 a.m. Friday at the commission room. There will be no meeting on Monday.