I attended the April 13, 2022 Camden County Commission meeting at 10:00 a.m.
Readers will be happy to know that there is now a magnetometer conveyor belt at the the courthouse entrance so the procedure to get into the courthouse is much faster.
There were quite a few people in the audience. At least ten of them were employees of the Sheriff’s Office. I figured that some of the people might be there for the Premium Pay agenda item.
Commissioners Gohagan and Hasty were present. The tension was palpable. You could cut it with a knife.
I simply assumed that the one issue foremost on everyone’s mind was: Will the Gadfly finally get his Visitor’s Pass?
As much as I would like to imagine that the citizens of Camden County had been tossing, turning and agonizing each and every night over whether the Gadfly would ever receive his coveted Camden County Visitor’s Pass (as promised to him by the illustrious Camden County Commission),
I began to realize that the major issue of the day might be: Premium Pay.
Premium pay for Camden County employees clearly trumps my own trivial needs for a personalized parking space. Maybe.
Commissioner Gohagan started off by making a motion to amend the agenda to add the March tax abatements that were tabled last meeting. This amendment was approved and the Commission then voted unanimously to ratify the abatements.
Commissioner Hasty stated they would have Public Comment on each agenda item as they came up. Nobody took advantage of it. Just putting it out there: if someone would ever speak in front of the Commission and then drop possum dead on the floor mid-sentence to make a point, they might become a legend depending on how long they kept up the dead possum routine as we dragged them out of the building. I’ve set the bar: 0 seconds.
The first agenda item was for the Huber Contract. I believe this is the company that handles IT services for Camden County. There was a new contract with Huber that would expand their on-site services from 3 days a week to 5 days a week. Camden County was required by their insurance company to move to two factor authentication for their computers. As they discussed this, a lot of the department representatives started to complain that the authentication system wasn’t working for them. The representative from Huber talked with them and he is going to work to fix the issues.
The new contract was approved unanimously. Since it seems to be working so great so far.
The next agenda item was the Visitor Pass Policy.
You may not have noticed, but I was very excited to hear if they were going to finally give me my Camden County Visitor’s Pass that they promised me two meetings ago. I’ve been trying to keep it a little quiet.
After the last meeting, I went to the Sheriff’s sergeant to get the pass and he told me the machine that makes the passes was broken.
This time, Commissioner Hasty said that a closed session is needed regarding the Visitor Pass policy. Maybe they’re going to plan a big Visitor Pass surprise party for me?
So much suspense. The Gadfly abides. And he likes chocolate cake. Just a hint.
The Visitor Pass Policy agenda item was tabled.
The third agenda item was for the Sheriff’s Grant.
This was the grant for LANEG (Lake Area Narcotics Enforcement Group). This is a grant that is usually renewed annually and presented by the Sheriff’s Office, but the Sheriff’s Office didn’t have it at the meeting. It wasn’t in the Commission’s stack of papers and the Auditor left to go find it. The Auditor returned after an unsuccessful search for the grant. It appeared to be missing. Hmm, where could it be?
Nobody could find the grant and it was tabled until it could be found.
Let’s consider this for a second: The LANEG grant is an $800,000 grant. We know this because your Gadfly was at meetings last year where this contract was approved. $800,000!? That is the equivalent of 10 deputies. Simply missing. Oh well, I guess it will turn up. Some day. Hee haw.
The fourth agenda item was for a release of surplus funds. Heartland Partners asked for a release of $12,711.12.
This was approved unanimously.
The final agenda item was for Premium Pay.
I have written a lot about premium pay over the last four or five months so I’m not going to go over this issue again.
Camden County plans to pay each non-elected full time employee $2,000 in ARPA money, but the money has to be spread across pay periods to ensure that no recipients receive more than the maximum allowable hourly rate and all recipients work enough hours per pay period to qualify.
The Commission originally intended to spread the premium pay across four pay periods, but one of the dispatchers who was present mentioned that employees who were taking vacation during that time might not qualify. The Commission then changed their plans and approved a premium pay plan that would spread the premium pay across six pay periods to ensure that all employees would be eligible.
Yep. I guess it’s a good idea to discuss ideas with folks before simply laying down the law. You’d be surprised how smart your employees are.
The Commission then unanimously approved a plan that would give the employees four premium payments across six pay periods. This would mean that each full time employee would receive a total of $2,000 and each part time employee would receive a total of $1,000. Camden County will pay the benefits and pension portion of these payments our of county revenue.
And that was that.