The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

County employee handbook approved


Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe

THE IRON County Board of Supervisors discuss the employee handbook during a meeting Monday at the Iron County Courthouse in Hurley.

HURLEY - After weeks of discussion, the Iron County Board of Supervisors approved the employee handbook for county employees during a meeting Monday.

The finance committee, along with department heads and other employees, worked on the document throughout most of December, finally presenting the handbook to the full board.

Board members had some questions about the document, asking for clarifications.

Supervisor James Lambert, of Mercer, questioned the use of the term "at-will" when describing employees, instead of "just cause."

According to attorney Mike Pope, the use of "just cause," is a "Pandora's box," and would not be good for the county.

Lambert also questioned why termination should go the finance/personnel committee, instead of a specific department's committees first, for example, law enforcement, highway or forestry committees.

Pope said the matter had been discussed during finance meetings involving the handbook, and committee members wanted to "simplify the process," instead of having too many steps to terminate an employee.

After discussing the matter, the board decided department committees should be involved in the process, which will now have the department head first bringing termination to the department's committee before going to the finance/personnel committee.

"While most department heads would go to their committees, we should word it in there, to have it in black and white," chairman Joe Pinardi said.

The section was edited by Pope, and the employee handbook was approved by the board.

Retirement Incentive

The board approved what is intended as the last retirement incentives package for 2014.

Pope presented the incentives package, after it was approved by the finance committee earlier in December.

In order to qualify, an employee must be at least 62 years old as of Jan. 1, 2014, and have at least 22 years of service with the county.

The retiring employee must make a written application to the county clerk's office by 4 p.m. on Jan. 15 and must retire between April 5 and Dec. 31, 2014.

The employee will choose between three incentive options, the first being a lump sum of $20,000 paid on the first regular payday following the employee's retirement date. The lump sum will be reduced by federal and state withholding, FICA contributions and other applicable payroll deductions.

The second option is one year of health insurance, provided by the county at no cost to the employee.

The third option is two years of health insurance, with the county paying 50 percent of the monthly premiums, and the employee paying the other 50 percent.

Other business

Steve Schurtter, of Montreal, asked the board why the harvest camp issue was not on the agenda for the meeting.

The Iron County Forestry, Parks and Recreation Committee recommended to the county board earlier in December to remove the camp from county land near a proposed iron ore mine near Upson.

Pinardi told Schurtter the recommendation is being looked over by an attorney, before the board takes any action on the matter.


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