It's official: county commission is a full-time job
The job of Carbon County Commissioner is now officially defined as full-time employment. That's the unanimous decision of the Carbon County Commissioners, who had to make the call that will affect their successors but not themselves.
It will apply to any one who took office after July 1, 2011, and the current commissioners where all seated before then.
As clerk/auditor Robert Pero explained before the vote, when the state legislature revamped Utah's retirement system, it set up a two-tier benefit program for full-time and part-time public employees. Full-timers get retirement benefits.
The state left it to the counties to decide the job status.
Commissioners have not been designated as part-time or full and the statute is not very helpful, added Christian Bryner, the commission's attorney.
Now commissioners don't punch time cards, and there was some concern raised about how the public would view the concept of people who don't keep regular hours calling themselves full-time employees. However, as commissioner John Jones noted, people may expect him and his colleagues to be in their offices during eight regular working hours, but that is not the nature of the job. "I'll put in whatever it takes," he declared.
There's travel in and out of county, as well as night meetings and weekend work.
"If anyone thinks these are part-time positions, they are sadly mistaken," stated veteran commissioner Mike Milovich. "It's not just full-time five days a week but seven days."
Jae Potter's position was that he "would hate to see anyone who wants to run to be penalized" by not getting the same benefits as previous holders of the office.
Had the commission ruled the job was part-time, then whoever is elected in November to the open seat would be a Tier 2 employee - ineligible for retirement - while the remaining commissioners would retain theirs.
In casting his vote, Potter noted, "This is for others who will come in the future."
The retirement plan, as Milovich explained it, is set at 2 percent of the highest annual wage for each year of service. In other words, after a four-year term, a commissioner would get 8 percent of his or her wage.