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The outcome of a question over whether police officers, sheriff’s deputies and 911 operators would get bigger checks for working the holidays or time off later was settled by county commissioners last week..

They voted to give those employees more time to get to take holiday time off later instead of having to pay those employees for hours they were otherwise set to lose.

County Manager Matt Denton said he looked over the problem after commissioners had initially requested that he pay law enforcement, 911 dispatchers and Sheriff’s deputies to cover lost time they don’t get to make up for working holidays.

Denton said when he went back to crunch the numbers, the initial idea to pay out for holidays would cost too much. “We want to do what is right for everyone here, our employees included,” Denton said.

Instead of paying out employees for the time they won’t get to take due to already having to work overtime because of manpower issues in public safety, they’ll get to keep vacation hours for longer by allowing Denton the authority to “extend the necessary period of time” those employees can use time they are owed off.

Commissioners approved of a plan to allow for the public safety employees to take time off during the upcoming months, with the hopes everyone will have gotten to take the extra time before April 2018.

However some did have reservations. Commissioner Hal Floyd in specific was worried that with the police department and 911 department still under strength in personnel, they might have a more difficult time accommodating that schedule. He asked for the commission to pass a resolution keeping with what was originally intended, giving Denton the discretion to allow for the vacation time to be spread out.

Had the county simply paid out the time, it would have cost overall $160,000. Commissioner Jennifer Hulsey and Floyd both stated that they expect the problem to be solved in 2018, whether officers get the time off or get paid for the hours.

“We need to make sure we plan for this in the budget next year,” Hulsey said. “I don’t want this to happen again.”