April 10 2017 01:43 PM

County employees sent home because of wind damage had to use vacation time to get paid

MONDAY, April 10 — Some Ingham County employees were blown away March 8 during the devastating windstorm that swept through the region. But it wasn’t the weather. It was an archaic set of county policies that left them using their own vacation time to be paid while their departments were shut down during a power outage.

Sally Auer, a UAW representative for county employees, visited the April 4 meeting of the General Services Committee of the Board of Commissioners to raise the issue.

Here’s what happened, according to the committee’s draft minutes.

When the windstorm whipped through the state, ripping down trees and tearing off electrical lines, the sheriff’s administration building, Animal Control Shelter and 55th District Court were left in the dark and without heat. Directors of those three departments made the decision to send employees home.

But because Ingham County Controller Tim Dolehanty did not make the decision to shut down the county operations for the day, those employees were told if they wanted to get paid, they had to use their own vacation time. Dolehanty told the committee he agreed with the decisions to shut down the facilities and send employees home, but after questioning from commissioners, he said he didn’t believe he had the capacity to approve the shutdowns in retrospect.

Commissioners are moving a resolution through their committees and up to the main body to authorize paying those impacted employees and restoring their vacation time and personal time banks. Both the General Services Committee and the Finance Committee have approved the resolution. It could be on the agenda tomorrow for the full Commission consideration.