The Bedford County Board of Supervisors on Monday discussed “streamlining” the county’s personnel policy to increase productivity and decrease payroll errors.

Bedford County’s Human Resources Manager Dawn Fields on Monday presented the board with several staff recommendations for changes in the county’s personnel policy — which included restructuring the pay and work schedules of some county employees.

The recommended changes included ensuring all county staff are scheduled to work 40 hours per week. The county currently has some non-public safety staff — those who do not work in law enforcement or fire/rescue services — who work 37.5 hours per week depending on the department. The changes proposed would ensure the county’s compliance with the federal Fair Labors Standards Act, Fields said.

“We don’t know why this was like this,” Fields told the board during Monday’s work session. “But we need to fix it. It is only fair.”

Staff also recommended eliminating “non-exempt salaried” status for county employees. Currently, a non-exempt salaried employee for Bedford County receives a set dollar amount each pay period and non-exempt hourly employees are paid based by the total number of hours worked. Fields said, if approved, all employees will be paid for hours worked.

“If you are getting paid for 40 hours, you have to work 40 hours,” she said.

Fields said staff also is recommending paying all county payrolls in bi-monthly pay periods, meaning all employees would be paid every two weeks throughout the year. Currently, the county has two bi-monthly payrolls and one monthly payroll, which County Administrator Bob Hiss said would create confusion once the county implements new timekeeping software next year.

“These changes are a byproduct of getting the new software for payroll,” Hiss said. “We needed to streamline the process because we merge a payroll system with 20 steps with a program that does it in six steps.”

District 7 Supervisor Kevin Willis said he agrees with the proposed changes but directed staff to have additional discussions with county employees before any changes might be implemented.

“These are the people that are going to be affected by this,” Willis said. “When you make these changes you are messing with their money and that could feel personal to them. I know you have discussed this with department heads but we need to go further and have these conversations with the county employees before we do anything.”

Also during Monday’s meeting, the board of supervisors approved a resolution authorizing the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office to accept $22,500 in grants from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to enforce DUI and speed regulations in Bedford County in an effort to reduce crashes and promote safety.

The grants — which will be used to fund overtime for DUI checkpoints and speed suppression patrols — required a local match of $14,600, which the board approved.

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Shannon Keith covers Bedford County for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5530.

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