OT hours under review

BOTKINS — After discussing employees’ pay and hours for more than 60 minutes Thursday, Botkins Village Council members tabled closing a loophole in the way employees can claim work hours.

Councilors spent a large amount of time trying to come up with a solution to the way employee vacation and sick time can be used in conjunction with overtime hours that are received every three weeks. Currently, three village workers work a regular 40-hour week plus must work a mandatory two hours of overtime every third weekend.

Currently, the two hours are paid at a time-and-a-half rate, regardless if they are overtime or not. Councilors would like to keep the pay at time-and-a-half regardless if there is overtime, but it leaves a loophole where workers can use sick or vacation days during the week.

This allows them to work less than 40 hours but still get the de facto overtime on the weekends. Councilors have been clamoring for a way to still give employees the extra pay on weekends but not leave the loophole with the use of the 15 sick days employees have each week.

“The council wants people to be at work working,” Botkins Village Solicitor Jesse Kent said. “In the current set-up, workers can use a sick day and be rewarded with additional time off work. They need to be at work to show value of tax dollars to the citizens.”

After the long discussion, councilors again tabled the matter to give it another month to come up with an acceptable policy.

“It will come up next meeting under old business,” Kent said.

Council President Craig Brown brought up a policy for the village of Anna which is potentially causing ill effects in the village of Botkins.

Due to wear and tear on the road and a number of accidents at the location, Anna officials banned right turns by semi-tractor traffic onto State Route 119 coming off County Road 25A approximately 10 years ago. However, the provision has caused for an increase of traffic in Botkins. Botkins councilors are concerned because Anna’s ordinance may result in more wear and tear to Botkins village streets from the additional truckers traveling north to Botkins to make the turn. Councilors’ worries are heightened because  a massive road reconstruction project is underway in the village and others are planned in the near future.

“Legally they are within their bounds to do it,” Kent said, “but we are concerned with the extra costs due to this diversion. It’s kind of like the neighbors with the pool and the tree. Their leaves from their property are falling in your pool. What do you do?”

A letter expressing the concern was sent to Anna’s council, and a response was sent to the councilors outlying the reasons they had imposed the policy.

Councilors were unable to come up with a solution and tabled the matter to search for a solution to the problem.