County sets cellphone policy
BY BRIAN WILSON
A new policy will govern who will get county-issued cellphones and how they can be used.
Taylor County Human Resources director Marie Koerner brought the policy to the county personnel committee for approval on Oct. 31. According to Koerner, the policy has been an ongoing project after it was discovered there was a lack of consistency between departments and even within departments about who had county-issued cellphones and how they could be used.
The county currently has 30 employees who are impacted by the policy. This does not include the phones and devices used by the sheriff’s department.
“Thirty doesn’t sound like too many to me,” said committee member Scott Mildbrand.
Under the new policy, it would be the decision of a respective department head and the Information technology (IT) director to review requests for either a countyissued phone or cellphone allowance with the following guidelines: The individual has management responsibility which requires a cellphone for operation task.
They have task-driven functions that require a cellphone with an identifiable need, specific task or if it would improve efficiency or effectiveness.
Phones would be purchased through the county’s IT department.
County employees who qualify to be issued a cellphone, but who already have their own may opt to take a monthly allowance based on the needed level of availability.
Fore those who need to be available only during work hours a cellphone allowance of $20 per month would be paid, while those who would need continuous availability beyond just work hours would receive an allowance of $40 per month.
The policy clarifies that county issued cellphones are for work purposes only and that any personal use was limited to brief incidental calls and includes use of internet or social media. By policy the phones issued by the county will be the “no charge phone” offered by the cellphone provider. Cellphone contracts and purchases will be handled through the IT department similar to any other computer purchases.
Committee chairman Chuck Zenner noted that while the policy will likely need to be tweaked, it should go a long way in creating consistency.
The policy will go into effect beginning January 1.
In addition to the cellphone policy, the committee approved a policy to begin having exit interviews with those leaving county employment. The human resources department will provide a questionnaire for those leaving a position including those transferring to other positions. There will also be an option for a face-to-face interview. The goal of the process is to improve employee retention and to find out the issues why people are leaving county employment.
Supervisor Lester Lewis noted that in many places the exit interview is not voluntary for people at department head level.
“If someone wants to leave how do you make it mandatory?” Zenner asked.
Lewis suggested that it could be required to receive their last paycheck from the county. He also noted that he felt it was important the interviews be done through the HR department and not by the department heads.
In other business, committee members approved the appointment of Liza Daleiden as the interim human services director in place of Tammy Tom-Steinmetz who resigned her position. Daleiden was deputy director under Tom-Steinmetz. The interim period will last until April at which time the the human services board and Daleiden will review the position.
Committee members approved giving Daleiden a $3 per hour raise during the interim period. This is consistent with past practice when employees have temporarily assumed management positions.