Commission discusses body cams, employee vacation time during work session

Published 3:50 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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The Nicholasville City Commission did not take any actions during a Monday meeting, but the body discussed several items that will impact the city in the months ahead: police body cams and vacation time for municipal employees.

The commission meets for a workshop session on the first Monday of each month.

Its next meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 13.

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Police body cams

Nicholasville Assistant Chief of Police  Michael Fleming told the Commission that the department has a body cam shortage. Currently, it has 50 cameras and needs 16 more.

This will cost the city $13,286.34, which would be in addition to the yearly cost of $36,094 for the pre-existing 50 cameras.

The commission did not decide on this item, but the police department will likely purchase the cameras to alleviate the shortage.

The Nicholasville City Commission meets for a workshop session on the first Monday of each month. The next City Commission meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 13.

Vacation time 

The commission discussed three existing aspects of government worker vacation benefits and tabled a third item for a later discussion. These are some aspects that the commission expressed it would like to change.

  1. Police do not get their vacation time until after a year. According to the commission, it’s becoming more common in city government that workers get their vacation benefits on day one. 
  2. If an employee leaves before the year ends and used their vacation time, they have to pay it back. 
  3.  Employees are required to take a week of vacation time at a time , which was tabled for further discussion.

The city’s human resource director, Kathy Rhineheimer, researched other city government policies to assist the commission. 

She said that no one gets vacation benefits on day one.

“A lot get it after 30 days or 90 days. Some do it a week after or six months after,” Rhineheimer said. 

Rhineheimer, Mayor Alex Carter, Public Utilities Director Bob Amato, and Director of General Government Doug Blackford will draft up plans for a possible change in the vacation benefit policy. 

Eastgate Subdivision

Residents of the Eastgate subdivision, developed by James Monroe Homes, took up more than half of the open seats in the police department’s community room.

The developer did not attend the meeting, and residents claim the developer, who has not finished building the neighborhood, is charging them each $1,000 so that he may plant a tree in their yards. The residents said the developer will include the price of the trees in the home price in the future.

The residents also claim the developer said he is bound by the city in a Memorandum of Agreement to plant trees in the neighborhood. To that, Commissioners said that the zone the neighborhood is in does not require trees.

Neighborhood residents said they have tried to bargain with the developer, asking that he use a different tree, but to that, he allegedly responded that he liked the bigger, more expensive trees. They also said that in the deed, it is stated that the developer may not charge them for the trees until they are planted in fall 2024.

One attendee who plans to move spoke up, asking why they would pay for the tree if they won’t even be able to see it.

Others complained of heating, and air conditioning problems, as well as shoddy building- one resident said her bathtub does not have structural support, as she can feel soft spots on the tub’s floor.

Mayor Carter said that Planning Director Tim Cross will look into the MOA between the developer and the city to verify these tree mandate claims.

City Attorney Darren Sammons said the neighbors’ best step forward is to hire a private attorney.

“This continues to be a dispute between the landowners and the developers,” Sammons said.

Changes to charitable giving

Commissioner Bethany Brown said there are a few organizations that the city of Nicholasville contributes to each year. 

Instead of donating to the Salvation Army, which is regionally focused, the Commission discussed donating to the Jessamine County Food Pantry, which is always hyper-local.

The commission agreed to plan for a donation to the Jessamine County Food Pantry in the budget for the upcoming months. 

Nicholasville Housing Authority appointments

At the next city commission meeting, three appointments to Nicholasville Housing Authority will be announced.