The Pulaski County Commissioners voted 2-1 to place an employee into the general foreman position at the highway department.
Traditionally, the superintendent appoints the employees in his department, but Commissioner Bud Krohn, Jr. said he wanted a “political change”.
“It’s time for a change. I got elected, and that’s what I’d like to do,” said Krohn.
He initially wanted to appoint a person as the assistant superintendent, but that position is not in the handbook. Auditor Shelia Garling said that the next position at the highway department is general foreman. Krohn then moved to appoint Mark Fox as superintendent and Terry Ruff as general foreman. Krohn and Terry Young voted in favor of the appointment while Larry Brady voted against the motion. Krohn blasted Brady for not being in support of the vote and not being communicative with the board.
The appointment of Terry Ruff as general foreman would drop Travis Holiday down a position to road foreman. Brady explained that the employee handbook doesn’t allow for the demotion of an employee without just cause. He stated that did some research from an earlier situation in the county. County Attorney Kevin Tankersley attempted to explain the point more clearly.
“As an employer, you’re held to a certain standard,” explained Tankersley. “For example, you can’t terminate people with no cause whatsoever. At-will has a lot of exceptions. Larry has been through that a few times and maybe knows some of those requirements. From what you’re saying, if I’m not mistaken, that in effect you’ve demoted somebody, and there’s no paper trail at the highway department that this individual has done anything other than his job. You’re saying this guy’s not doing anything wrong, but I’m demoting him.” (Krohn) “I call it political change.”
When asked if Holiday could switch with a person who is a general labor employee, Krohn stated that Fox could make that decision.
There was an allegation that highway workers are not performing at their full potential. Krohn commented that Fox has a lot of work to do, and some changes are being made.
More discussion surrounded around what the commissioners will be doing in the future concerning the appointment of these positions. The conversation can be heard during the Kankakee Valley Viewpoints program Sunday at noon CT on K99.3 produced by WKVI News Director Mary Perren.