County attorney says employees working at e-recycling center won’t be due overtime

Committees of the Jefferson County Quorum Court will try again to approve an appropriation ordinance to cover costs at the new e-waste recycling center when they meet Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

In March, the county’s legislative body tabled the ordinance after Justice of the Peace Lloyd Franklin II argued that a provision allowing county employees to work part time at the new center would constitute overtime for the employees if that work exceeded their normal 40-hour work week.

At the request of County Judge Dutch King, County Attorney Jackie Harris researched federal and state labor laws and in a letter to King dated March 20, Harris said that in his opinion, employees working part time at the center “would constitute irregular and intermittent work and therefore, the total hours worked would not be combined for the purposes of determining any overtime compensation due to their regular jobs.”

In addition, Harris said additional work responsibilities that are included in the jobs of current full-time employees would make them exempt from overtime compensation as long as the work involved management of the facility.

In the letter to King, Harris said he consulted with Kenya Gaylord of the U.S. Department of Labor who said if the work was done on a voluntary basis, in a different capacity from the employees’ regular work duties, and performed on an irregular basis it would not qualify for overtime; even if the employee worked as much as once a month, it would still be considered sporadic and occasional.

The proposed appropriation ordinance would set aside $60,000 to pay county employees $15 per hour to work at the new recycling center, located on East Harding Avenue behind Pope Furniture Co.

An additional $14,455 would be used to pay additional compensation for public outreach and education programs dealing with recycling. Those programs would be handled by current employees given additional duties.

Also Tuesday, the county’s legislative body will consider a resolution agreeing to match a $25,000 grant from the Simmons Foundation’s Tommy May Make A Difference Grant that was awarded to the Jefferson County Juvenile Court.

The match would pay for the second year of the program in juvenile court. According to a letter from May to Juvenile Judge Earnest Brown, the foundation is recommending that Brown visit with other entities to try and get a third-year commitment for funds.

An appropriation ordinance that would transfer money from the general fund into the sheriff’s office construction fund also will be considered. After a recent gun auction held by the sheriff’s office, a total of $72,210 was collected, and $400 of that will be refunded to a buyer based on the condition of a gun. The remaining $71,810 would go into the construction fund if the ordinance is approved.