If a county employee is working near the county line, can he cross over into Clarke County and eat lunch at a fast food restaurant? Or, should he be required to find something to eat in Madison County?
County commissioners discussed the matter at length Monday. Chief appraiser James Flynt asked the board for clarification on the county’s vehicle use policy. He said the board of assessors instructed him not to allow appraisers to take county vehicles across the county line for any reason.
“Appraisers are often gone all day and they need to take a break, use the restroom or go to lunch,” said Flynt. “Can they cross the county line or should they come all the way back to Danielsville?”
Four of the five commissioners at the table said employees should use their discretion, choosing the closest place to eat or take a bathroom break.
“I’d rather them go the half mile (across the county line) then go all the way back (to Danielsville),” said Commissioner Bruce Scogin. “It needs to be a discretionary thing, as long as they keep a log (of where they’re going) and it’s within reason.”
Commissioner Stanley Thomas said he doesn’t want employees to take liberties with the freedom, but he agreed that employees need to have some discretion. He gave an example of a hypothetical lunch trip that would be inappropriate.
“What I don’t agree with is if they are in Danielsville and they decide they want to eat at the Red Lobster,” he said.
Commissioners Mike Youngblood and Wesley Jordan voiced similar views.
But Commissioner John Pethel said employees shouldn’t be allowed to take a county vehicle out of Madison County unless they are on official business.
“We’ve had a lot of misuse of county vehicles,” he said. “I don’t think they need to go out of the county to go to lunch. I don’t think that should be allowed.”
Pethel said that if employees know they’re going to be in the Harrison area around lunchtime, then they should prepare a meal in advance, rather than cross into Franklin County for lunch.
“Everybody has a little cooler and they can carry a sandwich and a Coke,” he said. He also noted that there is a convenience store in the Harrison area where employees can use the restroom. But Flynt said he didn’t think some of his employees would want to use that restroom.