Report Upsets Blackwell Employees
STOCKTON – There was a larger-than-normal audience at the Tuesday Board meeting. At first it was thought that the group, which included many county employees, was there to praise the commissioners – four of whom were being presented with plaques honoring their service to the county. Instead, they were there to express concerns over a pending county board decision.
What brought the crowd was a presentation by George Gmach of Trusight, a consultant hired by the county to oversee its updated job description point system. Gmach presented the county board with the job description figures, which assigned points to every position within the county government. However, it became clear that the employees weren’t part of the process since submitting job descriptions two years ago.
County Attorney Tom Kelly said that the employees had been largely kept out of the process, including the documents the county board was referencing at the last meeting. “I just hope that what you’re reading is something we can read,” Kelly said. “I’ve been sitting back here (in the county board room) and have no idea what you’re reading.”
When asked by Board Chair Rose Thelen, several employees indicated that not only were they excluded from the process, they weren’t aware that the matter was going to be voted on until a couple employees noticed that it was on the agenda.
Commissioner Pat Sawatzke quizzed Gmach about the process, who said that all job descriptions were either submitted by department heads or the employees of a specific position themselves when their department head signed off on the proposed job description. He also added that there were 73 appeals of the initial job description point system list of 150 classifications and that 14 classifications were changed as a result. Sawatzke said that, given the time and effort put into the process, it would be unfair to drop the process on to the new commissioners that will take over in January – a sentiment shared by Commissioners Jack Russek and Dick Mattson.
“This has been a two-year process,” Sawatzke said. “I think it wouldn’t be right to get 99.9 percent of the process done and handing it over to a new board that hasn’t been involved in the process.” By a 4-1 vote, the board approved the job description list. Thelen voted against the list, citing that department heads were left out of the process.
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