Recorder of Deeds Sharon Birkman

By Josh Mitchell

Missourian Staff Writer

Some Franklin County officials Tuesday expressed concern to county commissioners about the manner in which changes to the personnel policy are made.

Recorder of Deeds Sharon Birkman said she would like to know more about proposed changes to the policy before the county commission votes on them.

“What I’m requesting is that if anything has changed in the personnel policy, I think you ought to notify the elected officials and the department heads before it comes up for a vote,” Birkman said. “I’m asking for every department head and elected official.”

But the commission said the Shared Leave and Personnel Policy Review Committee includes members from most county departments.

An employee from Birkman’s office is on the committee. But a few county offices, including the auditor, public administrator and treasurer, are not represented on the committee.

Whoever is representing a certain department or office should be reporting back to their co-workers about proposed changes, Second District Commissioner Mike Schatz said.

But Birkman said not all offices are represented on the committee. County Counselor Mark Vincent said most offices are represented.

Schatz asked Birkman, “Are you saying nobody is reporting back to you from your own department?

Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said he does not have a problem making sure that changes to the policy are disseminated through an email to everyone.

Griesheimer added that he can understand why department heads and elected officials who are not represented on the committee may be concerned about what’s going on.

“I see your point,” Griesheimer said.

But offices with representation should be kept informed by their representative, he said.

“If your own employees aren’t reporting back to you, I don’t know what to say about that,” Griesheimer said. “That’s what they are on the committee for.”

Griesheimer said the chairwoman of the committee could send out a report on proposed changes to the elected and appointed officials.

The commission unanimously approved an addition to the policy Tuesday dealing with guidelines for volunteers and interns. Vincent said the policy addition also states that volunteers are not covered by workers’ compensation.

Collector of Revenue Linda Emmons said she agrees with Birkman on the issue.

“I have wondered and even asked some others if we weren’t entitled to know what is being discussed in those meetings,” Emmons said.

Vincent said that they are public meetings. Emmons has an employee from her office on the committee.

Public Administrator Mary Jo Straatmann also expressed concern over the issue, saying she did not know until late Monday about the proposed policy change since she does not have a representative on the committee.

Franklin County Highway Administrator Eva Gadcke said the proposed changes to the personnel policy were posted online before the commission approved them Tuesday.

“It’s online for everyone to see,” Gadcke said.