If Dallas County Officials Close Offices For Bad Weather, Jenkins Wants It Marked "Holiday"

ClayJenkins_gavel2.jpg
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins was mighty proud of himself on February 1, 2011: While everyone else 'round town was bundling up and staying in thanks to the cabin-fever-inducing ice storm, Dallas County remained open for business. (No doubt Jenkins pressed ahead with commissioners court that morning to cut down the number of mad-as-hell Bruce Sherbet supporters willing to risk life and limb.) In the end, the county only shuttered for a single day: February 4, when the ice gave way to snow.

Per an item on tomorrow's commissioners court agenda that single-day shutdown came "a cost of $512,000." But, writes Jenkins, other county offices did close during the ice storm, and that too had a price tag: "Last year, Dallas County spent an additional $468,000 in inclement weather pay for the hours not worked by employees due to office closure by independently elected officials." And while the Texas Attorney General's Office has given those officials discretion to close their offices when they see fit, Jenkins wants the commissioners court to weigh in when doors are locked and for that time off to be counted against employees' comp or vacation time. As in:
When an elected county official closes his or her office due to inclement weather or other circumstances for a period that is normally a part of a regular work period, and intends to compensate those employees, the Office of Budget and Evaluation will: (1) notify Commissioners Court of the department that closed, (2) the reason(s) the department closed and (3) the cost of the department closure during the first posted meeting after the closure.

In order to reduce the monetary costs to the county, the Dallas County Commissioners Court requests that any time off from work granted by a county official due to office closure due to inclement weather or other circumstances be entered in the county's timekeeping system, Kronos, under the code "holiday."
As you may recall, Jenkins broke his leg on February 2 -- slipping on the ice, on his way to work. County Inclement Weather Policy

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10 comments
Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Looks like Jenkins, the JWPsock  puppet, is desperate to promote himself now that it looks like his puppeteer his about to be sent to the Big House.

Like Pinochet, Jenkins is now desperate to prove he's a real boy.

Not working.

Jason
Jason

In the private sector, you usually do not get paid on "snow days" so I don't think city employees should either.

Gangy
Gangy

I think paying hourly employees when offices are closed for bad weather and dangerous driving conditions is fair and the humane thing to do.  That money is already budgeted, and the employees are not the ones responsible for the circumstances.

Doug in DFW
Doug in DFW

I'm normally one to kick Jenkins when he's down, but this memo seems to give County employees a break by granting holiday pay (instead of making said employee eat comp time or vacation time) for inclement weather when the executive closes the office.  Of course I may have more time card punching skills than Wilonsky.  HR types please clarify.

A-nony-mouse
A-nony-mouse

Freudian slip? Pinocchio wanted to become a real boy. Pinochet was the Chilean dictator. :)

cnc1019
cnc1019

I've worked at three different places, and all of them paid hourly employees their normal pay on a snow day.  Granted these were all accounting or real estate offices and not retail stores so I'm sure there are differences based on the private sector you talk about.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

As a salaried employee in Dallas for more than 25 years  with a half a dozen employers I always got paid for "snow days".

Don't know what we're talking about do we Jason?

Guest
Guest

I can't verify, but I read the original post as saying that the Texas Attorney General's Office has already decided that independently elected officials can close their offices without any input from Jenkins or the commissioners court and that the county has no choice but to pay the employees without docking vacation or comp time.  If this is right, then it sounds like Jenkins is using the only tool available to him:  Shaming the independently elected officials by making them describe the amount of money they cost the county by closing up shop on days the county is officially open for business.   

Guest
Guest

Yes, and this seems like the right balance to me.  If an individually elected official thinks it's too dangerous to close up on a day the rest of the county is open, he should at least have to account for the decision.  But the employees shouldn't be punished. 

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