Elberta grants sick leave to police chief

By Cliff McCollum
Posted 11/27/17

Last week, the Elberta Town Council voted unanimously to extend six weeks of sick leave to Elberta Police Chief Stan DeVane as he recovers from injury.

DeVane was injured in a horseback riding …

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Elberta grants sick leave to police chief

Posted

Last week, the Elberta Town Council voted unanimously to extend six weeks of sick leave to Elberta Police Chief Stan DeVane as he recovers from injury.

DeVane was injured in a horseback riding accident in July while on vacation, but since then has suffered as bacterial infection that affects his spine and has paralyzed him.

The decision activated DeVane’s six weeks of accrued sick leave, which extends until January 2018 and gives DeVane an opportunity to return to the office.

While the council vote was unanimous to extend the leave, some town residents questioned the decision during public comments.

Former Elberta Town Clerk Sandy Germany questioned the entire process of how DeVane’s leave had been handled from the get-go.

“He has been gone since July and as a salaried employee, he does not earn any extra hours,” Germany said. “His vacation and sick leave should already be done. How for four months has he been paid a salary?”

Elberta Mayor Jim Hamby said DeVane is the town’s only salary worker and that DeVane had been participating in departmental decisions even though he was not physically present.

“He’s participated in the budgeting process, hiring and firing of employees and a whole lot of other things we’ve needed,” Hamby said. “Everything he’s done for the department has been through conversations, phone calls or visits with members of the department or myself.”

Hamby said if DeVane was unable to return after the six week period was over, he could place DeVane on unpaid leave and hold the position open for a year, a move Hamby said was first done for Germany years ago.

Germany said she was worried a precedent was being set by the town’s actions.

“I don’t have a problem with Stan,” Germany said. “I have questions that people like to ask, and I would like to have answers to these questions. Is that right going to be granted to all other salaried employees?”

Hamby said he honestly didn’t know the answer to Germany’s question.

“It could have set a precedent,” Hamby said. “I do not have an answer to that question.”

Hamby said the town was currently in process of redoing the employee handbook and that language could be added to clarify and explain what position the town could take on the matter in the future.