Some Grayson County employees will see a little extra in their paycheck next pay period though they might have to cancel their plans for stockpiled compensation time.
County Commissioners voted to do away with the practice of paying people who had to work holidays with one day of pay plus one day of compensation time. Now, when Grayson County employees have to work a holiday, they will be paid double time instead. Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said it is a wash with the budget, but the change makes it easier on people who have to schedule staff for those departments that have to work on holidays. Right now, at the jail, for instance, those who are trying to schedule have to keep track of who is off on vacation, who is out sick and who is off on comp time every time they try to schedule a shift. Changing to straight double time pay for those employees will eliminate the need to schedule around it.
Human Resources Director Kelly Beall stressed the new policy only applies to people whose jobs can’t shut down for holidays and only for the people who are actually working on the holiday. Magers estimated that it will cost the county around $69,000 to pay off all of the comp time already owed to staff in those departments that cannot shut down for the holidays.
The next biggest discussion of the day came about when the group attempted to pay the county’s bills. Generally this part of the agenda goes by a script in which Commissioner David Whitlock says something like, “I see we have a lot of bills, and I think we ought to pay them.” And then Commissioner Bart Lawrence will second that motion and the bills will be paid.
This time, something seemed different as Whitlock and Lawrence talked back and forth about pulling something out of the bills. Whitlock said his little brother, Fannin County Commissioner for Precinct 1 Gary Whitlock, recently found his precinct in need of a culvert. Lawrence found out about that and said his private company, Bart Lawrence Construction, had a culvert it\would sell it to the Fannin County precinct at half price. David Whitlock heard the price and decided Precinct 2 needed a culvert for that price.
It turns out Lawrence didn’t have to pick which Whitlock to sell the culvert to because it was too big for Gary Whitlock’s purposes. So Precinct 2 got a new culvert and Bart Lawrence abstained for the vote on that particular matter since his company was involved.
Grayson County Sheriff’s Lt. Sarah Bigham appeared before the court and got permission to apply for a $20,000 state grant to get rifle resistant body armor for members of the sheriff’s patrol fleet and some of the jail staff. Bigham said that would complete the job started by some donations earlier in the year.
Commissioners also approved a renewal of the county’s participation in the Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases program with Lubbock County. Grayson County Auditor Richey Rivers said the program allows the county to provide defense attorneys for capital cases at a greatly reduced price from what the county would pay if it paid a private practice attorney to represent capital defendants. Magers said he had heard the county might be mounting a capital case in the death of Brandon Hubert, a motel clerk killed while working in early August.
County leaders also approved a bid proposal from the city of Sherman for property located in the West Park Addition, Block 1, Lot 6 that was struck off to taxing entities for delinquent taxes. Commissioner Jeff Whitlock was hesitant to vote to approve the $500 bid because, he said, the school district would be losing a good deal of money in back taxes on the deal. Magers said the district will get a chance to vote on the matter. Grayson County Tax Assessor Collector Bruce Stidham said the city plans to leave the property as a green space since it is within the flood plain.