Levy Court caps essential employee emergency pay

DOVER – Kent County Levy Court commissioners revised a 30-year-old policy Tuesday night to limit extra pay for essential employees during an emergency event.

Enacted in 1990, Policy 4-2 did not specify how long time and a half pay or compensation time could be in effect. Officials said it was originally intended for short-term events such as a snowstorm, tornado or other emergency.

A lengthy continuation of the coronavirus pandemic and extra payroll costs could severely drain the operating budget, County Administrator Mike Petit de Mange and commissioners said on Wednesday.

The policy was amended to cap time and a half and/or compensation time at 80 hours during a state of emergency. After that essential employees will be paid their regular salary, officials said.

While county buildings remain closed, operations continue on a limited basis. Officials said revenue from fees and services have dropped since COVID-19 arrived, negatively affecting the General Fund.

Public works employees at the wastewater treatment plant in Frederica, paramedics, emergency management, dispatchers and custodians are deemed essential. The extra pay and compensation time amounted to about $33,000 in the first week, the county said.

According to the amendment, the policy is subject to revision by the county administrator in consultation with the Levy Court president which afford him or her maximum flexibility to maintain county operations.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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