Starke County Commissioners Approve Overtime Policy for Sheriff’s Employees

The Starke County Sheriff’s Office can keep a better budgetary handle on overtime for sheriff’s deputies, investigators and correctional officers thanks to action this week by the county commissioners. They adopted an ordinance to modify their pay periods for the purpose of overtime to 48 hours instead of 40. County attorney Marty Lucas says federal law provides a partial overtime exemption for uniformed, plainclothes and corrections officers because of the way their hours are typically structured.

They work four, 12-hour days and are off for another 12 hours, which means overtime during one 14-day pay period, followed by another that is significantly less than that threshold. Lucas says federal law allows employees to work up to 171 hours prior to incurring overtime during an aggregate 28 day period.

The policy also specifies how time is paid out. Instead of paying time-and-a-half wages, they will earn 1.5 hours of compensatory time for each extra hour worked. Sheriff’s office employees will be able to take it when they earn a full comp day and give adequate notice to the sheriff.

The policy also allows the sheriff to set blackout dates for comp time based on scheduled vacations.

Lucas adds the change will not remove overtime, but will reduce it significantly. By paying it in comp time instead it will also allow the sheriff to better control his budget.

The new policy will take effect with the May 15 pay period after receiving unanimous approval from the Starke County Commissioners.

Renovation Plans on Starke County Commissioners Agenda

The Starke County Commissioners will review the final draft of plans for renovations at the old jail and courthouse when they meet tonight. The architect and contractor who designed and built the new jail east of Knox are on the agenda to provide details. The former jail will become office space for Starke County Community Corrections, the probation department and Purdue Extension, according to discussion at previous meetings. The prosecutor’s office will move into the courthouse, and the clerk’s office space will be reconfigured.

Other items on tonight’s commissioner agenda include an update from Veteran’s Service Officer Mark Gourley about Memorial Day flags and grave markers for cemeteries throughout the county, discussion with Sheriff Bill Dulin about comp time versus overtime and Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler for final approval of the county road inventory.

Ritzler is also on the council’s agenda, along with Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver. They will be discussing truck routes in Knox and North Judson prior to submitting information to the various companies that offer GPS mapping services and whether the intersection of County Road 300 East and Toto Road should be included in the route at this time. The council will also consider lowering the mileage reimbursement rate for Starke County employees from .40 to .36.

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