Retiree bonuses, drug testing employees and more

  • Published: April 21, 2014
  • Retiree bonus estimates

    Legislation passed this year (Act 2014-429) would allow counties to provide a one-time bonus to retirees in October. Only retirees who began receiving benefits before Oct. 1, 2013, would be eligible, and the law specifies that the bonus must be $2 per month for each month of service or $300, whichever is greater. To participate, counties must adopt a resolution opting in before Sept. 1. The county must bear the cost of the lump sum payment, and RSA has calculated these cost estimates for county participation.

     

    Drug testing employees: training can help supervisors implement policies

    Most counties have policies in place on drug testing employees, and the model policy that ACCA recommends calls for drug testing only when there is “reasonable suspicion” that an employee is under the influence. If there are no grounds for “reasonable suspicion,” the county could open itself up to a lawsuit, so understanding what qualifies as “reasonable suspicion” is very important for supervisors. Two great resources for supervisors on this issue are the training videos and handouts from the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as this useful booklet from the state, Drug-Free Way to Be in Alabama: A Step-by-step Guide to a Drug-Free Workplace. Questions? Contact ACCA’s director of insurance services, Henry van Arcken, at hvanarcken@alabamacounties.org or 334-263-7594.

     

    Health and safety powers for Alabama counties

    Counties that are interested in adding new programs to benefit the health and safety of their citizens should check into the Alabama Limited Self-Governance Act. There is a referendum process available under state law to allow counties to tackle issues such as:

    • Weeds
    • Junkyards
    • Litter and rubbish
    • Noise
    • Pollution
    • Unsanitary sewage
    • Animal control

    There’s still time to get this on the ballot in November if this is something that you believe could benefit your county. Questions? Contact Mary Pons, ACCA’s association counsel, at 334-263-7594 or mpons@alabamacounties.org.

     

    Webinar app for ACCA members

    ACCA continues to get a positive response from members to webinars that have been offered on legislative topics and other issues, such as ATRIP. If you want to be ready to participate next time, even if you are on the go, you can download the GoToMeeting app for your smart phone or tablet in advance.

     

    Mental Health and Substance Abuse Toolkit for rural communities

    The federal Rural Assistance Center has released the Rural Mental Health and Substance Abuse Toolkit. The toolkit includes information and links to help develop and implement programs addressing mental health and substance abuse needs in rural communities. Questions? Contact NACo staff member Andrew Whitacre at awhiteacre@naco.org or 202-942-4215.