JASPER, Tenn. - Longtime Marion County employees will enjoy an extra week of vacation per year after the County Commission voted to approve the measure this week.
The board voted 12-1 to amend Marion's personnel policy to grant the additional leave for employees with 20 or more years of service.
Commissioner Gene Hargis, who works for the county sheriff's department, abstained from voting on the policy change.
Personnel Committee Chairman Wayne Willis said the committee met recently to discuss the issue, and members agreed to recommend the change. Only about six employees now would be eligible for the extended time off, he said.
County Attorney Billy Gouger said the board voted several years ago to amend the county's personnel policy on vacation time and gave three weeks to employees who worked there 10 years or more.
"That's been the cutoff," Willis said. Now, employees with 20 years or more will get four weeks per year.
Commissioner Tommy Thompson voted against the policy change and said it was time for the board to control its "liberal" spending.
"It seems like we're just getting more and more liberal with our taxpayers' money as time goes by on this thing," he said.
The board has "passed out" more than $500,000 in raises and benefits to county employees over the last four years, Thompson said.
"This money doesn't grow on trees," he said. "Some of these property owners out here are hurting, and we just never seem to curtail these expenses."
Willis said the committee did not address when the change in policy would start.
"I would say that it goes into effect now, then," Commission Chairman Les Price said.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.