The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners approved a travel request for two county employees April 8 for training.
Emergency Manager Rebecca Squires said the first training request would be for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) employee Eric Smith. The training will take place the week of July 25 in Maryland. Squires said the three day class will utilize GIS for emergency preparedness.
An issue with the travel request however, is Smith is a contracted employee. Squires said Smith questioned if he would still be paid while taking the class.
Commissioner Scott Hancock said the situation is a “catch-22.” He pointed out that both Smith and the county will benefit from the training.
“He is going to benefit,” he said. “It benefits him as a contractor.”
Hancock said in addition to his work with the county, Smith also contracts for other counties and teaches at Brigham Young University-Idaho.
Because the training will benefit both parties, the commissioners decided to pay Smith for half of the days he is contracted to work in a week.
Aside from the cost of the contract and Smith’s meals while in Maryland, the cost of the training will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The second travel request Squires mentioned was two potential trainings for her. The first training was scheduled for May 13 to 16 in Pendleton Ore.
Squires said her counterpart from Bonneville County indicated that she was planning to attend the training and was willing to drive her to the class via a Bonneville County vehicle, making the training free to the county aside from Squires’ time.
The other training is scheduled for May 29 to 30 in Meridian. Squires said the training revolves around earthquake preparedness.
Considering the dates of the classes are relatively close to each other, Hancock questioned Squires’ workload and if she could maintain that load while still attending the trainings.
“My workload is tremendous,” she said.
Due to Squires’ workload, the commissioners only authorized the travel request for the training in Meridian. Squires said the training itself is free, but travel and lodging will be a county expense.