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County: Board discusses overtime changes

By Staff | Aug 19, 2016

Federal changes in overtime laws may affect Pierce County departments.

On Tuesday morning Tanya Wieler, human resources consultant, met with the Pierce County Board of County Commissioners to discuss a change coming in overtime pay rules.

On Dec. 1, the threshold for exemption from overtime will increase to $49,500, more than double the current rate of around $23,000. Wieler said that under the new rules five positions would be considered exempt: the auditor-treasurer, the Social Services director and the registered nurse, administrator and chief of security at the Heart of America Correctional & Treatment Center.

While meeting the threshold, Wieler said the position of county sheriff is “not in the picture” for talking about exempt vs. non-exempt due to being an elected official.

Wieler said an example of an elected official not meeting the exempt threshold would be the county clerk of court.

Wieler said the county should look into systems for tracking employee hours, including a time clock system or requiring all to fill out time sheets. Wieler said the county would be in a “bad position” if the county did not have records of hours worked.

Auditor-Treasurer Karin Fursather asked if changes would be needed to the county’s employee manual. Wieler said it may be cheaper for the government to do comp time, but the first thing departments would want to do would be flex time-time off within the work week.

Chairman Dave Migler asked if the board has the authority to mandate no overtime. Wieler said that the county should have some means of dealing with accumulated overtime. Fursather asked if the board could set a limit on the amount of accrued time. District 4 Commissioner Duane Johnston said accumulated time should be used within two weeks.

Wieler said that while the retail and restaurant industries would be hit the hardest with overtime rule changes, small county departments would feel it too.

Migler asked if there were any counties Wieler worked for as a HR consultant that budgeted for on-call employees. Wieler said that most of the counties talk about it but she didn’t know if the counties actually do.

The board asked Wieler to double-check salary study figures and do a benefits study.

The board discussed a bid on a new vehicle for the Sheriff’s department.

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