FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted Monday to rescind their 2-1 vote in January to give hourly, nonunion “essential employees” compensation time for working storm days when offices are closed.

The move came during the annual review of the Personnel Policy, which covers nonunion employees. Commissioners did not want to add the proposal to the policy.

The paragraph on inclement weather will remain: “Employees are entitled to time off with pay only when all or part of the workday is officially canceled.”

The employees are two full-time kitchen staff at the jail and the facilities manager.

Chairman Clyde Barker of Strong and Charles Webster of Farmington voted in favor on Jan. 6; Gary McGrane of Jay opposed the move, saying it opened the county to requests regarding essential employees during future union negotiations.

Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. asked commissioners in January for changes to the policy to compensate those he referred to as essential employees, the full-time jail cook and cook supervisor at the jail, and county facilities manager. The three worked during a storm Dec. 29, 2015, while nonessential county employees stayed home and were paid. 

He had asked that the cooks and facilities manager be compensated hour for hour, either with pay or with personal time off. He also asked that they be retroactively compensated for the December storm.

“They have to be there, regardless,” he said. “If the kitchen staff is not there, the inmates would not be fed.”

Other changes to the policy include decreasing the number of paid days for bereavement from up to five to up to three for the death of immediate family members, siblings and grandchildren.

Webster said most private businesses give three days leave. Webster and McGrane voted in favor of the change; Barker opposed it.

Other changes requested by the Sheriff’s Office and rejected involved defective equipment, personal effects, special details and uniforms.

The sheriff provides uniforms and he wouldn’t allow defective equipment to be used, commissioners said. Any employee can come before commissioners to request reimbursement of personal items damaged during work, they said.

Commissioners approved an all-encompassing Tobacco Policy that prohibits smoking and tobacco use within 30 feet of a county building. It replaces a previous policy.

Vacation leave and sick time were eliminated under leave benefits, and a section on earned time/personal time off was added.

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