At its final meeting in 2011, the McDuffie County Board of Commissioners decided several issues but left the much-debated human resources policy unresolved.
The policy, created by the University of Georgia, has been discussed for nearly three years, said County Manager Don Norton.
The Organizational and Structure Committee, with Commissioner Bill Jopling serving as chairman, has spearheaded efforts to revise the policy.
Jopling said they made several compromises at a Dec. 14 committee meeting, but he recommended that the county attorney review the document prior to its approval by the board.
Norton and Chairman Charlie Newton expressed concerns about proposed changes to the policy.
Newton said several recent additions and changes in wording could potentially require any employee with a grievance to appear before the board of commissioners.
According to a county ordinance implemented in 1999, the county manager handles many of the employees’ grievances and requests.
“We may be in violation of our ordinance if we get that heavily involved in the personnel process,” Newton said.
“The changes would make me more of an administrative assistant,” Norton said. “They greatly weaken the county manager position.”
Under the current policy, the county manager has the ability to make final decisions about certain personnel issues. Some of the changes would necessitate going before the board to make even small decisions, such as changing a single employee’s working hours, Norton said.
“What we really get down to is the separation of administration and the policy body,” he said. “The changes are starting to undercut the way the system is supposed to be. They’re encroaching on the intent of the ordinance.”
The board voted to make a decision on whether to adopt the amended policy after a review by legal counsel.
“If we get it reviewed by the county attorney and he has no problem with it, I will have no issue passing it,” Newton said.