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San Jacinto News Times - Local News

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Officials asked to get compensatory time in check


COLDSPRING – A discussion of "excessive" compensatory time by some county employees was discussed and early mobile voting dates were approved during a regular session of San Jacinto County Commissioners' Court last week. Saying that he has "never seen it happen before," San Jacinto County Judge Fritz Faulkner told elected officials, "You need to keep your eye on it (overtime) and keep it down." Faulkner said several offices have issues with compensatory time. Among those is one in the district attorney's office, one in the auditor's office, two in the tax assessor-collector's office and one in the technology department. Faulkner said the county generally has officers in the sheriff's department who collect compensatory time. "That is expected. You can't just go out on a case and stop an investigation because your 40 hours of work time ends, but the county shouldn't pay compensatory time for someone to come in early to make coffee," Faulkner said." The numbers are running up there and you need to get a handle on it." Addressing some comments to San Jacinto County Tax Assessor-Collector Kelli Selmer, Faulkner said, "Manage the compensatory time. I've never seen this happen before." Taking offense to the judge's comment about charging compensatory time for making coffee, Selmer said that is not the case. "No one knows what work goes on behind closed doors," she said. Selmer, who took office one year ago said, "Things change when different people come in there. When I went in there (tax office) I knew nothing and had no one to show me how to do anything." Selmer explained that the last few months are the busiest of the year for the tax office with tax statements being mailed and taxes being paid. "It's been managed before with no compensatory time. I've never seen it happen before. How has it changed to allow a clerk to generate compensatory time?" Faulkner said. "Everybody needs to keep an eye on it and keep it down." Faulkner said there are 6,600 hours in total compensatory time accumulated by employees that the county is responsible for. "At $10 per hour that amounts to $66,000 dollars," he said. "I recall at one time that a deputy had so much compensatory time accumulated he took off for an entire year," Faulkner said. Other agenda items included the approval of early voting dates and locations. A motion was passed approving early voting on February 18 – 28 from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the county election headquarters in the courthouse annex; Feb. 19, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Bear Creek Volunteer Fire Department; Feb. 20 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Evergreen Community Center, Evergreen; Feb. 21 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Oakhurst Volunteer Fire Department; and Feb. 22, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the Shepherd Community Center. Elections Administrator Sheryl Evans told the court that there have been only six requests for mail in ballots to date. "That is pretty low," Evans said. When asked about early voting numbers by commissioners, Evans said historically about one-third of voters in the county cast early ballots. Commissioners approved an authorization for the sheriff's department to accept a bid from Eastex Telephone for a


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