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Trumbull engineer: If county OKs sick-time policy, I’ll consider it



Published: Sat, September 1, 2012 @ 12:06 a.m.

By Ed Runyan

runyan@vindy.com

WARREN

Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith says he has received legal advice two times indicating that he should not allow donation of sick time in his department without a written policy, but he’d be receptive to allowing it if the county approves a policy.

The matter has come up in recent months because one of his employees, Nancy Guerini, has cancer, which has caused her to use up her own sick time and her federal Family Medical Leave Act time.

In August, she had to start paying about $400 per month to keep her insurance.

A co-worker offered to donate some of his sick time to her, which would have kept her pay and benefits intact, but Smith said he couldn’t do that because there’s no policy or practice that would allow it.

Many other county employees have been allowed to donate sick time to co-workers for many years.

Smith said he consulted with a representative for CORSA, the county’s liability insurance carrier, and was told he didn’t have the authority allow the practice.

Two reasons were that the county engineer’s office has no written policy that covers it and the union contract at the engineer’s office doesn’t allow for it.

Guerini, a two-year employee, is nonunion.

Smith said he also sought a legal opinion from the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s office, and Aug. 20, he received it. It agreed with what CORSA indicated, Smith said.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor’s office gave the commissioners a legal opinion Aug. 20 that said commissioners have the authority to establish a policy on donated sick time that would cover all county agencies.

Smith said the opinion left an unanswered question — whether the county engineer’s office qualifies as a county agency.

Nonetheless, Smith said if the county commissioners establish a countywide policy, he’d be inclined to follow it at his office.

He added that he would be open to extending the policy to Guerini retro- actively.

When told of Smith’s remarks, Guerini said she’s very pleased and hoping to be ready to return to work Oct. 22, though she’ll continue to receive weekly chemotherapy treatments past Oct. 22 and will need time off for those.

A subcommittee of five people, including Smith’s top assistant, Don Barzak, has completed its work on the proposed countywide policy.

James Keating, the county’s human resources director, said union contracts covering about a quarter of the roughly 1,500 county employees will “not be touched” by the policy, and will take precedence over the countywide policy likely to be approved by commissioners next week.


Comments

1casey02(5 comments)posted 2 years ago

Per Mr. Smith he will consider it if it is approved. What is the problem with this guy? This woman has been out of work and this wouldn't hurt anyone to assist her to start having her medical insurance back. Come on Mr Smith do the right thing to help one of your employees

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2dawn421(265 comments)posted 2 years ago

didnt he use as an excuse that there was no policy permitting this? well if they say ok then what the heck is to consider? i think this idiot just needs to show who is boss, and at this poor womans expense

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3southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 2 years ago

Let us all come together and help this woman...she has cancer and needs support.

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4jmagaratz(166 comments)posted 2 years ago

given this situation which may be one in which many find themselves......

can anyone doubt the need for a single payer NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM?

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5birdman(6 comments)posted 2 years ago

Wait a minute, let me get this right. The article stated "Smith said the opinion left an unanswered question — whether the county engineer’s office qualifies as a county agency."
However his top aid was on the panel to develop the policy. Is it just me or is that double talk? If your not legally sure your are a county agency why put your top aid on a county subcommittee? Maybe to make sure time can't be traded between union and non-union employees? (of which she is one) Or just to save face. Too late Randy! Southsidedave is right, lets start a fund and help this women. Its obvious her employer doesn't want to.

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