Madison County Engineer David Brand and the county commissioners await an opinion by Prosecutor Steve Pronai on whether or not Brand should get extra pay for drainage-related work.
Brand says he should get the added pay; the commissioners disagree.
A lengthy discussion on Monday, with Pronai in attendance, did not result in a clear answer to the dispute.
Brand argues a recent opinion from the office of Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine states he should be paid for the work because it is outside the responsibilities of county engineer.
But the commissioners assert the same opinion does not require additional pay for Brand because the duties are within his legal responsibilities.
Commissioner Mark Forrest said Tuesday the prosecutor continues to review case law “to clarify that our opinion is correct.”
”His (Brand’s) opinion would lead to extra compensation for himself — ours doesn’t,” Forrest said. “If we thought we’re supposed to pay for it, we’d pay for it. I feel we’re right on this.”
Brand has been tracking his work hours spent on drainage maintenance. To date in 2014, the total is 118 hours. At his rate of pay, $41.13 per hour, he calculates he’s due $4,853.34.
He said Tuesday he wants the commissioners to comply with the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) for performing duties outside statutory requirements of county engineer.
Brand said he has given commissioners information “to digest.”
Other county engineers throughout the state, who are also sanitary engineers overseeing county drainage ditches, are paid annually in a range of $5,000 to $20,000, according to Brand.
For many years, the Madison County Engineer also served as the sanitary engineer and was paid a supplemental salary of $26,500 annually. Brand receives $85,354 annually as county engineer.
The dual role stemmed from a “verbal pact made 12 years ago,” Brand said.
That was the situation until May 2013 when the commissioners cut Brand’s extra pay to $15,000.
Brand objected to the salary cut and was relieved of sanitary engineer duties.
The commissioners then hired M-E Engineering to perform sanitary duties on an as-needed basis. Two other employees take care of the day-to-day operations of sewer districts within the county.
Following his dismissal, Brand said his office would no longer perform ditch maintenance, claiming those duties fell under the duties of the sanitary engineer and not the county engineer.
Brand ordered mowers parked on July 2, 2013, but then resumed mowing a month later at the request of local farmers.
That’s when Pronai went to the attorney general’s office for an objective opinion.
Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 17 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.