An announcement, dated Oct. 24, was sent to all county employees from Human Resources Director Anne Lee, saying that, in addition to Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, employees will also get Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve off, with pay, by approval of Chappell. Employees who have to work on those holidays can take the 16 hours off on other days, within 30 days after the holiday.
“It’s not that I don’t want to give holidays to county employees,” Anderson said. “But he (Chappell) is not authorized to do that. Those additional 16 hours have not been budgeted.”
Anderson cited Par. 5.137 of the county’s policies and procedures manual. It lists the holidays established by the Board of Commissioners as New Year’s Day, MLK Jr. Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. It notes that employees have 16 hours of floating holidays, to use at their choice. An asterisk remark says that eight of the 16 hours may be designated by the Board of Commissioners for Christmas Eve, per an April 27, 1999, amendment.
Chappell said Friday that the Board of Commissioners has no authority or control over personnel.
“County employees have not had a raise in four years,” Chappell said. “If Commissioner Anderson begrudges giving two days off, the Mondays before Christmas and New Year’s, I can’t help her. I’m not Scrooge.”
Chappell said the chairman sets the holiday calendar for the county. Since both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Tuesdays, the Mondays off will give employees a long weekend.
“There is money in the budget for the holidays,” he said. “As of right now, we’re about $900,000 ahead from last year.”
Anderson also charged that Chappell is changing the status of county employees he has hired since he began serving as chairman. She said Chappell hired the employees as “at will” employees, who serve “at the pleasure of the chairman.” She said Chappell is now changing the status of these employees to merit system employees, meaning they can’t be dismissed without a hearing of the county civil service board.
“Chairman Chappell is changing the status of the county employees he has hired since he began his tenure as chairman,” Anderseon said. “He hired all employees as ‘at will’ employees, rather than civil servants. Each new employee’s job description explained that they served at the pleasure of the chairman.
“Chappell is now changing all of those people, and their contracts, to merit employees. Chappell has always felt he had total control over the hiring process. This is just plain wrong.”
Chappell would not comment specifically on that charge other than repeat that the commissioners have no authority or control over personnel.
Chappell lost re-election bid in an Aug. 21 runoff, losing by a 68-to-32 percent vote to Carrollton businessman Marty Smith. Chappell will leave office at the end of next month.