Decision to carry over unused vacation is official

Friday, December 11, 2015

County employees will be able to carry over unused vacation time into 2016.

On Tuesday, Bourbon County Commissioners passed a resolution to allow unused vacation be carried over until March 31. Any unused vacation not taken by that date will be lost.

The carry-over is only effective for 2015 vacation days. A permanent policy change may come later.

"We need to change that policy starting in January," County Counselor Justin Meeks said.

The discussion will be placed on the Dec. 29 agenda, which will be a morning session only.

The change has been made to accommodate sheriff's office deputies who have not used vacation time because of a manpower shortage.

On Dec. 4, commissioners met with Meeks, Undersheriff Ben Cole, Jail Administrator Bobby Reed, Director of Security Alvin Metcalf, and Terry Sercer, accountant from Diehl Banwart Bolton to review the current budget numbers for the jail and sheriff's office.

During that meeting, Meeks said he spoke with a representative from the Kansas Counties Association, who recommended the policy change be made county-wide.

The county's current policy states at the end of a full-time employee's seventh month, they get one day of vacation per month until Jan. 1 of their second full year. Any unused vacation time is wiped away on Jan. 1 and they are then given 15 days. Employees would lose those 15 days the following Jan. 1 if they don't use them, County Clerk Kendell Mason has said.

New quarry loader

The commissioners voted to purchase a John Deere 624K loader from Murphy Tractor and Equipment for the quarry, but because the county is using an older grader as a trade-in, there will not be any payment due until 2017.

On Nov. 17, Public Works Director Jim Harris reported the hydraulic pump on the 20-year-old loader used at the quarries had gone out. He also said the tires need to be replaced and making the repairs would cost about $50,000. Commissioners gave him the authority to get prices on a replacement.

On Tuesday, Harris presented commissioners with three quotes. Although Murphy's quote was not the lowest, Harris said he has been pleased with the service from the company.

Murphy Tractor and Equipment submitted quotes on a John Deere 624K for a trade-in difference of $148,413 or a John Deere 644K for a trade-in difference of $199,450.

Other quotes were:

Berry Tractor, Komatsu 320-7 with a difference of $124,800 and a Komatsu 380-7, with a trade-in difference of $171,400; Caterpillar 938M, a $163,688 trade-in difference, and a Caterpillar 950M, a $215,451 trade-in difference.

Travis Clinesmith of Murphy Tractor and Equipment also attended the meeting to answer questions. He said John Deere would accept the older motor grader -- a $37,000 trade-in value -- as the 2016 payment. The county's next annual payment of about $27,000 will be due in 2017.

Harris said because the trade-in value of the older loader is low, he recommended using the loader "for a while" at the Beth Quarry, then listing it with an online auction service.

"We could use it three or four days a month," Harris said.

He said the loader had been using six gallons of hydraulic fluid a day, but is now using a gallon a day.

"It's good enough for that, but not for every day," Harris said.

He said it could be used at the Beth Quarry when the county's other loader, which was purchased in March, is occupied at another quarry.

"If they would have offered us a lot more money for it, it would be different," Harris said.

Before agreeing to the purchase, commissioners reviewed financial information. In 2016, two graders will be paid off, which will free up about $50,000.

Harris said the 2016 budget includes $60,000 for a new dump truck, which he is willing to forgo in order to purchase the loader.

"We need the loader a whole lot worse," Harris said.

However, when commissioner's looked at the 2016 budget, they did not see the dump truck listed, but did find a $15,000 payment for a roller that recently was purchased for asphalt work.