The Crandall Canyon mine disaster was brought up in the Emery County Commission meeting on Oct. 2. Many of the county's exempt employees worked many long, extra hours during the entire mine episode. An exempt employee is one who is in a salaried position and does not normally receive overtime pay.
Murray Energy and Intermountain Power have informed the county of their offer to pay all expenses associated with the Crandall Canyon disaster. Many of the county employees, from the Sheriff's Office, the road department and other departments, worked numerous days and hours without compensation due to their exempt status.
Sheriff LaMar Guymon has calculated the amount of time his employees worked that are over and above their normal working hours. "This is a one time request and comes only because those companies have offered to pay for all expenses. This is a matter of fairness and is only a one time thing," said Sheriff Guymon.
Commissioner Jeff Horrocks stated, "I agree that these employees put in extra time, but we have other exempt employees who also put in extra time."
County attorney Dave Blackwell said, "this brings up a unique situation. If the mine is willing to pay and we don't give the money to the employees, what do we do with the money?"
Several county employees, not involved in this matter, voiced opinions during the discussion and those were all in favor of allowing this one time payment for exempt employees. One informed the council that the payment should be referred to as a bonus and not overtime.
"Exempt employees are generally paid a little more money on their monthly salary and they are not given compensation for overtime," added Commissioner Horrocks.
Commissioner Drew Sitterud said the county needs to look at all exempt employees and make a plan to deal with instances like this one. Commissioner Horrocks stated that more research needs to be done into the legality of the issue. Commissioner Gary Kofford added the county cannot bill someone for items that the county does not pay out. The commission tabled the matter for two weeks for further consideration.
In other business conducted by the commission, the commissioners ratified the award of the bid to B&T Builders for the contract to paint the Wilson/Brown bridge.
Approval was given to sign a contract with the State of Utah to create a database and computerized map of several of the local smaller cemeteries. The Emery County Archives has received a grant to pay for this service. Approval was also given for the archives to purchase the necessary equipment for this project. This will be paid for by another grant.
Commissioner Kofford brought an agreement for the commission to consider. This contract is for the South Moore Road, phase seven, project to be continued. The commission approved the contract.
Castle Dale City Councilman Brad Giles requested the county to help Castle Dale City with their cemetery project. He said the new portion of the city's cemetery is 3.3 acres and the need is for three inches of the surface material to be removed from the site. The commission approved to provide the machinery and workforce to complete the work on the condition that Castle Dale City pay for the fuel.
The next Emery County Commission meeting will be held Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. in the commission chambers in the courthouse.