Before the commissioners unanimously passed the ordinance, the interim presiding officer Sharon Barnes-Sutton asked for the vote to be moved before public comment so workers could return to their jobs.
Commissioner Stan Watson said it was the sanitation workers who brought this issue to his attention. He said the board is committed to help with this process of implementing the amendment to the ordinance.
“Sanitation workers are the lowest-paid county employees,” Watson said. “They felt they should be able to talk to us about issues they might be having with their jobs whether it deals with harassment or understanding their job description.”
This ordinance allows for an outside representative to be present when there are disputes between any county employees and officials. Employees also have the opportunity to have an hour-long meeting once a month to settle any misunderstanding.
Burke Brennan, with DeKalb County government, said this helps to clarify an ordinance that was not completely clear before.
In this amendment, county employees become responsible for any dues they have instead of the county taking that out of the paycheck. Also, employees can no longer strike.
“With the ordinance passing,” Watson said, “I am hoping this gives every employee the satisfaction of knowing that they have someone to listen to their concerns especially since we cannot afford a pay raise again this year. This will be a good thing for the county.”
Beginning in January, the ordinance will be in effect. Watson said this gives the county ample time to put this initiative in place.