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Deputies Upset About Possible Benefit Changes

Buchanan County officials are proposing changes in how vacation and sick leave are accrued.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Some Buchanan County employees are not happy about a proposed plan to change how sick leave, vacation time and personal days are accounted for.

Members of the Fraternal Order of Police say they object to a new flexible paid time-off plan that would not allow for the carryover of days from year to year. Instead, the county would provide for short-term and long-term disability plans to cover any major illnesses. Also, instead of classifying time as either vacation or sick leave, all days would become personal days.

"They're trying to tell us that going to a short-term or long-term disability is a plus, but it's not," said Mike Hardin, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police.

"They might think we're restricting them, and we are," said Presiding Buchanan County Commissioner R.T. Turner. "They are an unfunded liability. I would tell you that even if we don't go with this, on new hires, there will be changes because this is something that the county can't sustain and keep on doing."

The proposed changes would only be enacted going forward. Those employees who have accrued sick leave would be able to keep it.

County commissioners will be discussing the issue at their regular meeting Tuesday.

Hardin says part of the problem with the plan is that employees heard of changes only through the media instead of through the commissioners directly.
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