On May 28, the Seward County Board of Commissioners approved a one-time payout for the Seward County Sheriff’s Department and the Detention Center to pay down accrued compensatory time for both departments.

The payments, estimated to be over $13,000 and $5,700, respectively, will get each department’s employees down to 50 hours of remaining comp time.

Seward County Detention Center Director Maria Hatfield said two employees in her department have over 90 hours of comp time, one at 114 and the other at 130 and a couple of others between 60 and 88 hours.

Hatfield mentioned there are two employees who are finishing training, but won’t be able to work on their own and with three vacancies to fill, her department is strained when someone calls in sick or needs to take time off.

Vance said he has an employee out until August because of an injury and while his department is able to cover the absence, if someone else has to leave, it would strain his department as well.

Commissioner Ken Schmieding said he was in favor of finding a solution and number for compensatory time payout, but didn’t have an exact figure in mind.

Hatfield had suggested paying comp time down to 40 hours.

“If we got it to 40 hours, at least we’ll have some room and won’t be reaching up to 90 hours, hopefully, any time in the near future,” she said.

Seward County Sheriff Mike Vance expressed support for Hatfield’s request.

“If we get the payout to go down to 60 hours, and especially someone in Maria’s position, you have somebody work three days and you’re already back up to 90 again.”

“If we lose one more, then we’re not going to be able to cover everything without paying comp time out,” Vance said. 

Commissioner Mike Mundhenke asked Hatfield and Vance whether their budgets were sufficient to pay down the comp time.

Hatfield said she had over $100,000 left in the employee line item and Vance said he would use money from the drug fund to cover the payout for his department.

Hatfield requested a similar payout in 2015. 

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