Youth services center added to job review exemptions

The Bartholomew County Council has exempted the county’s youth services center from requirements that any job vacancies must be first approved by the council before they can be filled.

The council voted last night to add the youth services center to the wording of next year’s salary ordinance requiring council approval to fill individual positions. Previously the only departments that were exempt from the requirement that department heads justify all open positions were the sheriff’s department and the emergency operations center.

The council decided to put the youth services center into that category after Brad Barnes, the head of the court services department which oversees the program, argued that there was a danger to the workers and to the children in custody that a staffing shortfall could cause.

The council voted in the new rule as a way to trim employees from the payroll through attrition. Some council members have said they would like to lose about 10 positions to help the county make ends meet before next year.

The Council also approved the hiring of a new employee to replace an employee leaving the county’s information technology department. The department had already shrunk from five positions to four during budget cuts and leaving the position unfilled would only leave three people to take care of any computer problems countywide.

Councilwoman Laura DeDomenic said that the county needs to soon reevaluate the pay scale in the IT department. She said the pay is so low that IT personnel will continue to turn over as soon as they are trained and gain experience, making the county just a stepping stone to a better job.