WARNER ROBINS -- Houston County commissioners unanimously approved two personnel policy changes Tuesday, including a modification to make it easier for county employees to seek political office.
Chairman Tommy Stalnaker said the personnel changes were brought up earlier this year and will clarify procedures for county employees about certification training and political aspirations.
Also at the meeting, which was held at the Houston County Annex in Warner Robins, commissioners approved the disbursement of 2006 special purpose local option sales tax funds for two projects.
In the first policy change, the language reduces the amount of time county employees would be required to take a leave of absence if they desired to seek office.
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Steve Engle, the county administrator, said the previous policy required the leave of absence be taken from qualifying through the end of the general election or run-off, if applicable.
The policy, as approved Tuesday, now requires the leave of absence to be 30 days before the general election.
“The idea is to reduce the amount of politicking (in the workplace), and they’re really going to be doing all of that just before” the election, Engle said.
The second policy change adds a stipulation that any employees who receive county-funded training or certifications must reimburse the county if the employee leaves within a year. Stalnaker said the policy was aimed at employees who were becoming certified on the county’s dime and then taking the training to another county or municipality.
Engle said such training is required for public safety personnel, tax assessors and water treatment operators. He said there hasn’t been a major retention problem in Houston, but the commissioners wanted to catch those who were using the county.
Also at the meeting, commissioners approved a nearly $5 million bid for the final of three Moody Road extension phases. The money is to be used from the 2006 SPLOST fund. Stalnaker said he overestimated the cost of the extension, which means more money is left to be used on other road projects.
Stalnaker said the county had a similar situation with funds for the water system lines earmarked in the 2006 SPLOST. Commissioners approved the last of the funds Tuesday. About $380,000 will be paid for extensions to Sewell, Terrell and Elko roads.
“We were able to get about twice the linear feet we thought we were going to put in,” Stalnaker said of all the water projects in the 2006 SPLOST.
To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.