Sunday, August 22, 2010


Mabank ISD buses to run late Monday morning
MABANK–Mabank ISD buses will run one hour late early Monday, Aug. 23, the first day of classes.
The late schedule – Monday morning only – is to avoid the anticipated traffic congestion around MISD campuses.
Buses will run on their normal schedule Monday afternoon and the rest of the school year. For more information, call (903) 880-1690.


Perk turned headache eliminated
County ends certificate pay program
By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS–So much for certificate pay.
By unanimous vote Tuesday, Henderson County Commissioners ended the practice of giving extra pay to county employees with multiple Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Education (TCLEOSE) certificates.
Those already receiving certificate pay will continue to get the bonus; eligible employees have until Sept. 1 of this year to turn in certificates to the County Treasurer’s Office. No certificates will be accepted after that date.
Commissioners have been wrestling with the policy during budget workshops the past couple of months, and debated its merits during a meeting in July.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence spearheaded a review of the policy, with the help of county employees, and suggested its elimination. He said he approved of the program in the beginning, “but it has become a headache.”
The policy went into effect in 2008, with the intent of rewarding well-trained, active law enforcement personnel and to provide incentive for those employees to earn higher certifications.
Specifically, the policy called for additional pay for employees “licensed with the (TCLEOSE), who are actively engaged in non-clerical employment, who are performing law enforcement duties, and who are non-elected officials and who have earned at least two TCLEOSE certificates.”
Eligible employees received an extra $500 annually for each additional certification after their basic (first certification), up to a maximum of $1,500.
For the current budget cycle, the policy is costing $57,500 at the Sheriff’s Office, with $12,500 of that for detention personnel at the jail.
Officials say what started out as a well-intentioned perk turned into an administrative and budgetary nightmare.
The problems are two-fold – first, the policy was broadly written and eligibility was left open for interpretation, allowing the number of participating employees to climb; and second, keeping track of certifications and pay levels became difficult.
Commissioners looked at modifying the policy to limit the employees who could take advantage of the additional pay, specifically listing: chief deputy, major, captain (patrol, CID and communications), lieutenant (patrol), sergeant (patrol), deputy sheriff, investigator, warrants deputy, special deputy, special assignment deputy, sergeant (transport) and transport deputy.
That solution did not solve the administrative problems, however.
“The fact that we’ve spent so much time on this shows that our original policy was flawed,” County Judge David Holstein said.
In other business, commissioners:
• held public hearings on the 2011 archival policy for the County Clerk and District Clerk offices.
The policies assign fees to certain actions, such as filing a lawsuit or filing cattle brands. The money collected is used for records preservation.
The fees went into effect in the District Clerk’s Office just this year.
“This is a very needful thing,” District Clerk Becky Hanks told commissioners. “This is our history – to me, it is very important to have these records available to the public.”


Teen faces burglary charge
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–A 17-year-old youth was arrested and charged Wednesday, following an investigation into a burglary on Ivy Lane in the Oak Ridge Shores addition near Gun Barrel City.
Daniel Scruggs was booked into the Henderson County Jail on two charges for burglary of a building and theft of property $500-$1,500. He is being held on bonds totaling $8,000.
Deputy John Long answered the initial call July 31 and developed a theft report.
The complainant said someone had entered his storage building and removed several items without his consent. He said he was also missing items from his yard.
Investigator Kendell Wellman developed information indicating that Scruggs was responsible for both offenses.
Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Henry Ashford issued two warrants for Scruggs’ arrest.
Scruggs was found at his residence and transported to jail without incident.

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