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12:14 AM Mon, Dec. 17th

Agreement near on Mohave County PTO policy

Changes would apply to new county employees

KINGMAN - After months of wrangling and delays, the battle over Mohave County employees' accrual, carryover and cash-out of paid time off is moving toward final resolution, possibly in January.

The Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 Monday to have Human Resources write up the final PTO policy so that everyone is in agreement on the terms.

Supervisor Hildy Angius, who pushed for changes in the policy, said she went back and forth in negotiations with Supervisor Gary Watson over a small discrepancy. They agreed that the new policy would apply to new hires after Jan. 1, not current employees.

"I think we were very close and I don't have a problem with the numbers Supervisor Watson brought in," Angius said. "I wanted to get this passed before the end of the year. I guess if we have to go back and make sure everyone understands, if that's what will do it, I'm supportive of that."

The new policy will reduce carryover PTO from 900 hours to 300 hours, and cash-out from 400 hours to 300 hours.

Now the sticking point is accrual time. The proposed PTO policy would give new employees 4.62 hours a pay period for their first four years on the job. Current employees accrue 8 hours of PTO per pay period in their first year, then it bumps up to 9 hours for the second through fourth year.

"My only concern on the proposal is 4.62 hours through the first four years," Watson said. "Can we reduce it to one or two years?"

Watson also said he thought the agreement for carryover was 400 hours, not 300.

But Chairman Steve Moss said his recollection was 300 hours. He wanted the policy written up in "black and white" by Human Resources and brought back for a vote in January.

"I think they have a good deal, but if their memories don't match up, then we'll have even more problems," Moss said. "I think Hildy and Gary are on the right track. We can fix the imbalance over the long term via the new hires."

In other items on Monday's agenda:

• The board took no action on reinstating a Mohave County ordinance that would allow placement of manufactured homes produced after June 15, 1976, in unincorporated areas. The board in November adopted a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission to limit the age to seven years, but sent it back in December for reconsideration or repeal. Supervisor Jean Bishop said she placed the item on the agenda to keep it on the "fast track." P&Z approved a motion to continue the item for 60 days, and it is expected to come back to the board in March.

• The board took no action on the reporting structure of two employees in the Office of Management and Budget who were assigned to the Treasurer's office upon the retirement of OMB director Gene Hepler in June. Treasurer Cindy Landa-Cox said it's important that the OMB staff report directly to the Board of Supervisors for auditing purposes.

• The board took no action on going to a zero-based budget for 2017. Supervisor Buster Johnson said he wants to look at how much is being spent on non-mandated services such as the drug court. With the downturn in the economy and a slashed county budget, there's not a lot of fat that can be cut except for services that are not mandated, he said.

• The board voted 5-0 to approve a May 19 election for five people to be elected to the Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District. John Flynn, appointed administrator of the district, said the district is financially solvent, having paid $250,000 to the county, and is now operating in the black. Johnson was skeptical about turning the fire district over to another board in light of the fact the previous board ran up about $500,000 in debt. Flynn said the only other option is to dissolve the district, which would involve providing a statement on the impact, taking public comments, sending notices to taxpayers in the district and circulating a petition that requires signatures from 50 percent of property owners, plus one.