Human Resources Committee Meeting Minutes – Thursday, October 15, 2020
For your consideration, please read the minutes from the Human Resources Committee Meeting held on Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. in the Commission Meeting Room.
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Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission
1703 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA 31520
Commission Meeting Room
Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 10:30 AM
HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE
Donald Elliott, Committee Chairman
Cornell Harvey, Commissioner
Wayne Neal, Commissioner
Andrew Burroughs, Executive Director
Ben Turnipseed, Commission Chairman
Charles Cook, Commissioner
Charlie Dorminy, HBS Legal Counsel
LaDonnah Roberts, Deputy Director
Cindy Barnhart, Teamwork Services, Inc.
Janice Meridith, Exec. Commission Administrator
Chairman Elliott called the workshop to order at 10:30 AM.
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
There being no citizens that wished to address the Committee, Chairman Elliott closed the Public Comment Period.
- Minutes from September 17, 2020 Human Resources Committee Meeting
Commissioner Neal made a motion seconded by Commissioner Harvey to move to approve the minutes from the September 17, 2020 Human Resources Committee Meeting. Motion carried 3-0-0.
- Human Resources SOP / Employee Handbook Revisions – A. Burroughs
- Section 2.4 – Harassment; Workplace Violence
Mr. Burroughs recalled for the Committee that Harassment; Workplace Violence policy was discussed at the previous meeting. Revisions to this HR SOP Section 2.4 were made as drafted by Mrs. Barnhart. Mr. Burroughs summarized the revisions and stated that JWSC wants to create a workplace where all people are treated fairly and with dignity, and we do not allow discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Discrimination was not included in the previous policy at all, but is now Scope No. 1 under the policy. The listing of protected classes was also revised to include all of the federal protected classes. The harassment section was updated to include verbal and non-verbal harassment, as well as sexual harassment in both forms. A section on romantic or sexual relationships between JWSC employees was also included in the policy revision. Mr. Burroughs noted that there are married couples working at JWSC, however they do not work in the same divisions. He added that if a couple in the same division is in a romantic relationship, they should notify their supervisor and efforts will be made to relocate one person to another reporting division with no favoritism shown. Whistle Blowers are also protected within this policy. Mr. Burroughs noted that the reporting requirements section was revised with more detail added and the requirements of reporting are explicitly stated. A couple of errors were also corrected in the text. Commissioner Elliott asked Mr. Dorminy, legal counsel, if everything in the policy was legal and he confirmed it was.
Commissioner Harvey made a motion seconded by Commissioner Neal to move that the Human Resources Committee recommend approving the edits to Section 2.4 of the Human Resources Standards of Practice as presented. Motion carried 3-0-0.
- Section 4.12 – Safety
Mr. Burroughs advised that the only requested change to this section was to explicitly reference the Safety Manual as the governing document for JWSC’s safety practices.
Commissioner Neal made a motion seconded by Commissioner Harvey to move that the Human Resources Committee recommend approving the edits to Section 4.12 of the Human Resources Standards of Practice as presented. Motion carried 3-0-0.
- Human Resources SOP / Employee Handbook Revisions – A. Burroughs
- Section 7.3 – Code of Conduct
Mr. Burroughs provided that this is the section of the SOP referenced when disciplinary actions are taken. The Code of Conduct references many items that may already be contained in other sections of the SOP. Mr. Burroughs reviewed the Attendance section and highlighted some of the Attendance details for the Committee. He noted that the section on tardiness may need to be revised as to the language. Sick leave was briefly discussed in that if an employee is out sick, they must use all sick time before using vacation time. Mr. Burroughs commented that sections “C” and “M” may need to be updated with additional language for clarity. He will draft the revisions to these and bring forward at the next HR meeting for additional discussion regarding the length of the language and “wordiness”. Section “P” was briefly discussed as it pertained to soliciting and doing personal business during lunch time and when clocked out.
- Section 4.19 Travel
Mr. Burroughs addressed the Travel Policy and stated that he would like to see some revisions in this section. Mr. Burroughs said that whenever staff members travel for the company, prior to their departure he would like for them to sign a copy of the Travel Policy acknowledging that they have read and understand the policy. This is due to the number of employees that have traveled in the past, returned and claimed they were unaware of the policies. Another edit in Section “1” that Mr. Burroughs would like to make is to add at the end of subsection “C” is “or other staff as deemed necessary by the Executive Director.”
Further discussion pertained to Section “2” Transportation, subsection “B” covering use of personal vehicles for company travel purposes. Non-JWSC employees are not allowed to travel in JWSC vehicles. At times, the traveling employee may take their spouse with them on out of town trips. Mr. Burroughs suggested that the policy should be revised to state “If a JWSC employee elects to use a personal vehicle when a JWSC vehicle is available the employee will not be reimbursed for mileage or gas expenses.” It was also noted that not only are non-JWSC employees not allowed to travel in JWSC vehicles, they are also not allowed to ride in vehicles rented or leased by the JWSC, or paid for with a JWSC credit card. The Committee agreed with this revision. Mr. Burroughs added that if there is not a JWSC vehicle available, then the employee would be reimbursed for mileage and gas. Mr. Burroughs will draft up the revision for further review at the next HR meeting.
Lodging was the next discussion point as found in Section “3A” where Mr. Burroughs commented he would like to add “It is preferable for accommodations to be arranged in advance at hotels with block rates for the specific travel purposes; should the block rate not be available lodging must be approved by the Executive Director prior to it being booked.” The needs for overnight lodging were also discussed. Mr. Burroughs suggested to add “JWSC will only pay for the cost of lodging necessary for JWSC business and not for the extension of their stays.” He added that in the case where the event ends at 5:00 or later in the evening, the cost of paying the employee overtime to travel back home that night is compared to the cost of their staying that night in a hotel and driving back the next morning. Whichever of the comparison is the more cost effective option will be the determining factor at the discretion of the Superintendent or the Executive Director. It was suggested to break this revision down to specify hourly or salary employees.
The per diem amount was the next point of discussion. Currently it is set at $35 daily to cover all meals for the entire day. Mr. Burroughs recommended to change the per diem rate to the GSA’s rate for which the amount is based on what city or location you are in. His revision would be stated “Meals including taxes and tips will be reimbursed at actual costs capped at the Government Services per diem rate for the time of travel and the specific location. Travel days which are the days you are traveling to and from, are capped at 75% per diem for which travel time including conference time is less than 12 hours. Any exceptions must be approved and reimbursement for tips may not exceed 25% of the purchase price.”
The policy covering telephone calls was the next suggested revision, of which Mr. Burroughs said he would like to add the wording “Should the employee be issued a JWSC cell phone, the employee will not be reimbursed for JWSC business phone calls made by other methods.”
The policy for Payment of Travel Expenses was addressed next. Mr. Burroughs read the current policy concerning alcoholic beverages, which stated that “Personal and non-allowable travel expenses are included but not limited to costs of alcoholic beverages.” He said he would like to add the wording “Should the employee choose to have an alcoholic beverage during their meal, there must be a separate receipt for the alcohol from the receipt for the meal.” This is especially beneficial in an example case such as an Open Records Request being made regarding travel expenditures because the alcohol would not be on the receipt reimbursed by JWSC. (Image of Impropriety) Mr. Burroughs will add a reference to no alcohol during normal business hours, only after conference hours.
Personal expenses such as haircuts and laundry, and also valet services beyond 5 minutes are not allowed. Mr. Burroughs indicated he would like to add “Valet services at hotels may be allowed if it is in the best interest of the employee’s safety.”
Mr. Burroughs then stated that he would like to add item number 7. He recommended the language of “Employees who are issued JWSC cell phones with mobile hot spot capabilities will not be reimbursed for charges associated with wireless internet access at hotels.”
Regarding additional expenses incurred by the spouse, Mr. Burroughs read “Should the employee choose to have a spouse or other guest join them at mealtime, separate receipts should be obtained for the spouse’s or guest’s meal.”
The Hours Worked Policy was reviewed next. Mr. Burroughs read the clause for travel and training time which said, “Time spent in professional or technical training seminars which are required by the JWSC may be counted as time worked.” He commented that this typically is not an issue, however occasionally if staff members are traveling on the weekend during their normal assigned working hours, they will receive pay for the time traveled from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm; and that pay stops at 5:01 pm. Mr. Burroughs advised that due to confusion, he would like to revise this wording to state “Non-exempt (hourly) employees will be compensated for travel time that occurs outside of their normal working hours as required, with compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay (cash). Should a non-exempt employee already have accrued 240 hours compensatory time, travel time may be paid as overtime hours worked outside the employee’s normal scheduled shift.”
Mr. Burroughs will draft the revisions to the Code of Conduct Policy and the Travel Policy as discussed at this meeting, and bring those revisions back to the Human Resources Committee for further review prior to presenting to the full Commission for approval.
The Safety Council will join the Human Resources Committee at the November meeting, and will present a “mock” Safety Council Meeting so the Committee may see the procedures carried out during those meetings.
With no further business to discuss, Committee Chairman Elliott adjourned the meeting at