Simmesport ok’s ‘on call’ pay for town employees

Simmesport municipal maintenance employees required to be “on call” for emergencies on the weekend will be paid $150 “standby” pay even if they are not called out, the Town Council decided at its Dec. 9 meeting.

Mayor Leslie Draper brought the issue of “on call” pay to the council, saying an employee should be paid $150 per weekend for being required to be available to respond to an emergency.

Maintenance Superintendent Charles Carter is training the maintenance crew employees to be able to respond to all emergency calls.

While the Attorney General’s Office has noted that government employees cannot be paid for hours they do not work, it has also said employees can be paid for being “on call” if the local governing agency adopts a policy authorizing that payment.

For example, it would be contrary to the AG’s opinion for an employee who worked an hour to address a problem to be paid for three hours under a “3-hour minimum” rule for call outs.

The “on call” policy seeks to compensate the maintenance employees for the constraints on their off-duty time.

The Louisiana Civil Service Rules define on-call compensation as payment “for hours worked in excess of regularly scheduled hours of duty, when the worker is available for call back to his/her duty station, work-ready, within a specified period of time, at the direction of his/her appointing authority.”

Failure of an on-call employee to respond to an emergency call-out would be grounds for disciplinary action against the employee.

The Civil Service Rules description of the practice notes that on-call compensation is in addition to the employee's regular pay.

It also states an employee who is called out while on standby “shall be considered in duty status and eligible for overtime compensation.”

REPLACING COCO

In another matter, a three-member committee was appointed to find a person to serve as alderman-at-large to finish the unexpired term of Jacob Coco.

The search committee members are Draper and aldermen Ted Turner and Myron Brown.

Coco was elected to the Avoyelles Parish Police Jury in October. His resignation from the council is effective Jan. 14.

Coco also resigned from the Fire Protection District 2 Board of Commissioners due to his election to the Police Jury.

Simmesport Fire Chief Dana Smith was appointed as the town’s representative on the fire district board.

NEW COMMITTEES

The council also discussed creating a few new special purpose committees.

A Sports Committee would oversee the use and upkeep of recreation areas behind Riverside Elementary and at the Avoyelles Port property.

The council was told that a cooperative endeavor agreement between the town and the Port Authority has been finalized.

Under that agreement, the town will maintain recreational sites at the port, including basketball courts and vacant fields suitable for playing sports and other outdoor recreational activities.

The recreational facilities behind Riverside Elementary are part of the town’s long-term lease with the Avoyelles Parish School Board, which includes the Community Center Complex in the former Dunbar High/Simmesport Elementary buildings.

Draper also asked for the creation of a Hall of Fame Committee to manage the planned Simmesport Hall of Fame to be housed in the Community Center Complex.

Another special emphasis committee is the Economic Development Committee, which will work with local civic non-profit RISE and other community organizations to improve the town’s economic opportunities.

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