Hamilton County salary, employee policies vary across different offices

Hamilton County salary, employee policies vary across different offices

May 12th, 2012 by Ansley Haman in News

Jim Coppinger took the oath of office as Hamilton County mayor on Jan. 11, 2011.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

When Hamilton County constitutional officers made budget presentations earlier this week, county commissioners regularly questioned whether their employees follow the county's handbook or some other policy.

The county's handbook contains employee policies, benefits, salary and disciplinary procedures.

Constitutional officers such as county clerk, sheriff, property assessor, trustee, register of deeds, court clerks, district attorney general and judges are independently elected and have great latitude in how they run their own operations.

"If they were all under a part of the handbook, we would all be better," said Louis Wright, county finance administrator. "It provides us a better legal position in terms of how we deal with employees."

The assessor of property, election commission, Juvenile Court and Juvenile Court clerk all operate under the general county government handbook. Others have their own policies, often modified from the handbook.

County Human Resources Administrator Leslie Longshore said the county's offices often have a mishmash of general county policies and their own.

While all full-time employees are on the county's health insurance, there are variances in other areas. Many offices, for instance, use the county's payroll services but don't follow the county's salary and pay scale. Others, like the trustee's office, handle their own payroll.

"It puts [human resources] at a huge disadvantage," County Mayor Jim Coppinger said.

Longshore said she often has to tell employees they don't fall under her oversight.

"Frequently the calls that I get would not be something someone would want me to go to a supervisor about," she said Wednesday. "I do have to refer them back to their own policies."