By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON — —
Job descriptions for positions at the Jefferson County Highway Department were approved by the County Board on Monday.
The Board has created a position for an engineering assistant, with a salary range of between $32,000 to $45,000 with a $500 monthly contribution for health insurance. The position will also include Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund benefits.
A motion was made to post the job internally for 10 business days, beginning immediately, before posting it publicly.
The Board also approved the job description of mechanic/laborer, although a pay schedule for those positions have not been established, pending negotiations with the American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees union. Mechanics would be required to provide their own tools under the revised job description, it was stated.
Highway Department Engineer Brandon Simmons said the new description would affect at least two of the nine employees at the highway garage, but encouraged the board to not create too many "specialized" positions.
"I hope we don't open a can of worms of other specialized titled positions," Simmons said. "I do not want to have operators and laborers. If we have five laborers and three operators and you have a 'I'm an operator, that's not my job' mentality. I've dealt with that before."
Board member Randy Edwards pointed the county will retain the direction of the workforce, regardless of the job description. "Refusal would be insubordination."
County Chairman Robert White said, "The truth is it's more cost effective for the county to have an in-house mechanic. If push comes to shove, we'll just start having someone else do it and they don't get paid any overtime at all for it. We need to take care of our own employees and we have to work with the union to do that. I'm committed to that, and I think all of you are. On the other hand, they don't run this deal, we do."
The Highway Committee also recommended, and received approval, for an expenditure of $29,400 for Wells Bypass Bridge from the Special Funds Account to Perry County Construction Co. for needed repairs for the bridge. The roadway will be closed for a two-week period, beginning March 11, according to highway department officials.