CADIZ - Wednesday's first meeting of 2013 was the first for newly elected Harrison County Commissioner Dale Norris.
The board wasted little time in taking a step to resolve ongoing issues at the county dog pound. Acting Chairman Don Bethel announced that the position of full-time dog warden would be eliminated.
"We will be accepting applications for two part-time positions and eliminating the full-time position of Harrison County Dog Warden," Bethel stated. "Because of the demands and stress on one person acting as a 24-7 dog warden, we felt that this would be the best course of action."
Bethel explained that the county would be accepting applications for the two 20-hour positions during the next two weeks, "One requirement we feel any applicant should have is that they be licensed to carry firearms."
"We would also like the applicants to have prior experience in crisis management," Bethel added.
Commissioner Norris suggests any interested applicants pick up the guidelines and an application at the commissioners office located in the courthouse.
"Wages for the two positions will be $12.75 per hour for one and $12.50 for the second," Norris explained. "The $12.75 wage will be for the part-time warden who will report to the commissioners."
The board expects to vote to officially eliminate the current full-time position and hire the two replacements at its Jan. 16 meeting.
The board also approved the 2013 General Fund and Special Fund budgets.
The 2013 budget certificate amount was $3,471,460 and the actual budget total approved was for $3,460,528.29. That is an increase over the 2012 General Fund budget of $3,170,530.64 approved last year.
"We are still just a little over $27,000 higher than the 2008 budget," Bethel commented.
County Auditor Patrick Moore told the board that the final numbers from 2012 would be in by next week and there could be some minor adjustments for the 2012 budget to match the ending balance.
County Engineer Robert Sterling was on hand to request the yearly renewal of the force account. Sterling also asked the board to approve the first road use agreement for 2013 with the Ohio Gathering Co. for 2.2 miles of county Road 62, 4.45 miles of county Road 20, 6.8 miles of county Road 16, 0.85 miles of county Road 31, 0.75 miles of county Road 33 and 0.7 miles of county Road 34 for ingress and egress for pipeline construction.
Commissioners also approved a voluntary leave transfer program for rural transit. The program allows an employee who has a medical emergency to receive transferred sick leave directly from other employees in order to avoid being placed in a leave without pay situation. This allows an employee to continue to receive pay while recuperating from a serious illness or injury.
Norris explained that several county agencies, including the sheriff and county highway department, already have implemented similar programs.
"The program covers pay period to pay period and is limited to 80 hours for employees who have exhausted their own leave in that biweekly pay period," Norris stated.
"It is strictly a voluntary program and donated annual leave remaining to the credit of a leave recipient when the recipient's medical emergency terminates will be recredited," added Bethel.
Commissioners also appointed Norris as the voting representative to the County Commissioners Association of Ohio and designated Bethel as the alternate.
The board also approved the appointment of Bethel as board chairman and Bill Host as vice chairman.