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County to look at employee reclassification

Some county employment positions may be up for consideration in an attempt to save money at the next regular meeting of the commissioners court.

The Jefferson County Commissioners Court will meet at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 9 in the commissioners’ courtroom, fourth floor of the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1149 Pearl St. in Beaumont.

The commissioners will consider for approval reclassifications for the sheriff: downgrade of two chief deputy positions to captain positions, reclassify a lieutenant position to a union admin assistant position paid captain pay, transfer of a major position in the jail budget to a major position in the sheriff budget paid at law enforcement pay.

They will also consider for approval reclassification for the jail: downgrade of a lieutenant position to a sergeant position.

The total annual savings including benefits would be about $22,000 with a savings during the remaining budget year of about $17,000.

Sheriff Zena Stephens wrote in a memorandum to the commissioners court, “In our efforts to restructure and cut cost in positions at the sheriff’s office, I would like to propose the following changes to our budget. I would like these changes to be effectively immediately, so we may move forward in our mission.”

Stephens wrote she wanted to downgrade two of the law enforcement chief deputy’s positions to captains to serve in mid-level management to assist in the operations that were formerly executed by chief deputies and upper management.

She also wants to move the current major’s position from the corrections division to the law enforcement division to better utilize that position in the operations of the sheriff’s office.

“In reviewing staff at the corrections level, I find it necessary to downgrade a lieutenant to a sergeant’s position for first line supervision in the daily operations of the corrections division,” she wrote.

Lastly, she would like to re-classify a lieutenant’s position from the law enforcement division to a union administrative assistant paid at a captain’s rate, as the administrator for the Marine division.

“This person would be utilized to oversee budget and equipment to lessen a financial impact to our county and industry,” she stated. “I feel there are savings to be found that would compensate for the added position to the Marine division. Although, this position would currently be funded through law enforcement salaries, we would hope that the Navigation District would see the benefit and budget for that position in the next fiscal year. This would potentially reduce our salaries an additional $80,000 a year.”

Stephens estimates this would save the county $17,000 in salary with the potential of $100,000 savings for future fiscal years to come.

The Jack Brooks Regional Airport is also proposing reclassification of positions. Alex Rupp, airport director, wrote Tommy Prevost retired from the Airport ARFF Department as fire chief in November 2015 and it has created an opportunity.

These duties habe been given to Duke Youmans and Elizabeth LeBlanc. Youmans took on the ARFF chief duties while keeping his Airfield Operational duties. LeBlanc took on Fuel Service Supervisor duties while maintaining her Fuel Service Clerk duties and Rupp proposes reclassification for both employees.

David Ball: 409-721-2427