The Clay County Council is doing its best to protect its finances and maintain a good working environment.
During Monday night's meeting, the council voted unanimously to deny a request to give $500 bonuses to employees of Clay Community Corrections.
Clay Circuit Court Judge Joe Trout and Community Corrections Director Mary Brown approached the council with the request, citing the additional responsibilities the department has taken on during the past year.
"Community Corrections has expanded its operations quite a bit, and I could not be more pleased with the work they have done," Trout said. "The Court Ordered Placement for Education (C.O.P.E.) program has been extremely successful and there has only been four students become repeat offenders in the program."
Trout added there is a new drug screening service, increased electronic home detention for non-violent offenders and expanded daily reporting.
"The individuals in the Community Corrections system are paying for the privilege not to be in prison, and as the programs are expanding, the collections are up as well," he said. "It would be a one-time bonus, which would come out of project income."
Although salaries for the department are not paid through tax dollars, council members felt it would be unfair to allow bonuses for a select few.
"This is really about a timing issue," Council President Mike McCullough said. "I have no doubt they do a good job, but with the salary freeze we had to institute, I am concerned that it may create a morale issue because there are a lot of hard workers in the courthouse."
Council member Dolores Johnson agreed in saying, "I wouldn't feel right doing this and having to face other workers in the courthouse who didn't receive a raise this year because of the salary freeze."
McCullough added, "If everyone had received a raise, it would be a different situation, but right now, it doesn't make a difference where the funding comes from."
After a motion to suspend the rules was passed, Steve Withers made the motion to deny the request, Johnson made the second and the council approved the motion to deny with a 7-0 vote.
In other business during Monday's meeting, the Clay County Council:
* Approved a transfer of $8,500 within the Highway Fund to allow for the purchase of a Gradall. "This gives the department a second one, and we are dedicated to ditching this year," Clay County Commissioners' President Charlie Brown told the council, and
* Approved an amended salary ordinance for the Treasurer's Office Deputy and Justice Center Maintenance to correct an oversight in the 2010 budget.
The next meeting of the Clay County Council is scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, April 5, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.