A county employee in the Phelps County Circuit Clerk office says she doesn't understand how the county commission's decision to cut funding for her position is putting the budget “in the black.”
A county employee in the Phelps County Circuit Clerk office says she doesn’t understand how the county commission’s decision to cut funding for her position is putting the budget “in the black.”
The employee, Wanda Reveal, and Circuit Clerk Sue Brown attended the April 24 county commission meeting to discuss why Reveal’s position was cut.
Reveal’s job is a jury program position. Brown told commissioners that she has only enough funds to continue paying Reveal through October of this year.
According to minutes from that meeting, Reveal “discussed all of the processes she handles for jury notification and selection, and stated that she believes that all of the work she does is for Phelps County jurors.”
Among those processes are working with the county clerk’s office to ensure jurors are paid and that the county has an up-to-date list of eligible jurors in the county, Reveal told the Daily News last week.
Without Reveal working, she said she is unsure who would take care of her responsibilities, adding that she feels bills will be delayed if given to another employee in the office.
“It’s a position that is not being abused,” Reveal said of her job. “I don’t understand how they (commissioners) can just eliminate it.”
Verkamp said the budget cut was not a reflection on Reveal’s performance.
At the April 24 meeting, District One Commissioner Larry Stratman stated that during county commissioners’ training, they were told that there should not be county employees in the circuit clerk’s office, but a reason was not given as to why that should be the case.
Stratman told the Daily News that that issue was raised by an official from another county, not by a Phelps County commissioner.
Reveal said that she believes her responsibilities are county duties.
Reveal stated that she was paid $4,032.50 last year, and said “she feels that this small amount could have been funded,” the meeting minutes state.
“I can’t believe cutting my position put them in the black,” Reveal said, noting that she only was working one day per week and did not work every month.
“The county was really funding a state position, and if that were the case, the state may stop funding it,” District Two Commissioner Gary Hicks told the Daily News last week.
According to the meeting minutes, Brown told commissioners that state officials have told her that her office is operating short by one and a half positions.
County Clerk Carol Bennett said if state officials say Brown's office is short that many positions, then the state should be funding those positions.
Hicks added that the commission doesn't determine how Brown's budget is spent.
"We don't tell Sue how to spend her money,” Hicks said.
However, it was noted that the commission does have final say on the approved budget of officeholders, and they did make a decision to eliminate a general revenue item that would have funded Reveal’s position.
Reveal’s position was one of two positions cut from the 2014 county budget. The other was a position in the IT department.
A story recounting the initial meeting from the minutes taken by Bennett ran in the April 29 issue of the Rolla Daily News. That story incorrectly stated that meeting took place April 22.