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Carthage Employees Get Day Off
January 2, 2008 - Christmas came a few days early for employees of the town of Carthage … and with board approval this time.
During its regular monthly meeting on December 20 the council voted unanimously to amend the town's 2007 salary ordinance to make Christmas Eve a paid holiday for town employees. The action was in response to a request from Jimmy Alcorn, the town's works manager, who asked if he could take Christmas Eve - normally not a paid holiday - off with pay, trading it for one of the approved paid holidays for 2008.
Council Vice President Wanda Henderson said she thought employees should be able to substitute one paid holiday for a day that isn't, like Christmas Eve. Council President Rick Bush said he would like to see the salary ordinance in effect now amended to add Christmas Eve as a paid holiday.
Council members Rob Cooper and Bill Armstrong respectively made and seconded a motion to make this Christmas Eve a paid holiday. With council members Tim Wehr and Jane Kirchner not present, the council's vote was 4-0.
"If it wasn't for Jimmy, I probably wouldn't be in favor of this," Bush said. "I think it's well deserved."
The last time Carthage employees got what amounted to a monetary gift from the town around the winter holidays was in December 2003 when former Clerk-Treasurer Janet Warren issued $500 bonuses to herself and five town employees. Unlike the recent decision to give employees Christmas Eve off with pay, however, the bonuses Warren handed out had not been approved by the council.
In other business at the December 20 meeting, the council renewed the town's contract with attorney Chuck Todd, Cambridge City, for legal services. Todd noted that his hourly rate is rising from $110 to $115, the first increase in the nearly four years he has represented the town. He also informed the council that the town will soon be reimbursed $12,646 it paid him over the past couple of years for work on the town's water project.
The council took no action on Town Marshal Mike Onkst's request to attend a five-week drug dog training course in Peru, Ind., in February. Onkst, who was elected to the council last fall and was to take office January 1, told the council that he had sent out around 20 letters seeking donations that will pay for the training.
Onkst, responding to a question from Henderson, said the training costs $9,500, and that the price includes a dog the town will keep. He clarified, however, that this does not include his five weeks of regularly salary, however.
Due to problems with the software used by the police department, Onkst was unable to provide his regular monthly report on December 20. He said he would add December's report to the one he'll present in January.
Alcorn provided the council with monthly reports on operations at the town's water and wastewater facilities, and a report summarizing his other work activities for the month. He and other town employees were complimented on their recent snowplowing of town roads and the Carthage Pike.
Bush announced that starting in January, the council will send out a monthly newsletter to town residents, something he said he thought would cost less than a $100 a month to mail out. Armstrong said he wanted the council to make some changes to the town's personnel handbook after the first of the year.
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