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Last updated 11:08PM ET
March 3, 2021
Alabama
Alabama
Byrne Eases Two-Year College Flextime Policy Except For Legislators
(2007-08-07)
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Two-year system employees who prefer to use vacation time to make some extra money can rest easy that is if they don't also serve in the state Legislature.

Employees who are also legislators might soon have to give Chancellor Bradley Byrne a really, really good reason why they should get unpaid personal leave to tend to legislative duties.

Byrne said Monday that he's revised a previous flextime policy that would have given all employees 10 unpaid leave days or 80 hours a year that they could use while doing paid work outside the system.

The policy would have allowed 13 legislators who are also department of post-secondary education employees to juggle those 80 hours in such a way as to keep both jobs until their terms end in 2010.

Byrne's also proposing a policy against "double dipping" that would prohibit system employees from also holding elected office.

The state board of education discussed both policies at a Monday work session and could vote to approve them at its Aug. 23 meeting.

Under Byrne's new flextime proposal, any employee who wants unpaid personal leave must have it approved by the chancellor, and it will only be granted "in extraordinary circumstances."

Byrne said he wouldn't necessarily consider serving in the Legislature an "extraordinary circumstance," but he wants legislators to talk to him about their specific situations.

"I think I'd just give them the opportunity to come in," he said. "If they want unpaid leave, they have to come to the chancellor."

Rep. Neal Morrison, D-Cullman, who has been in the Legislature for 13 years and has worked at Wallace State Community College for 17 years, said he was surprised at Byrne's "180 degree offset of what he came out with last week."

"I understand that the board wants to do something, but I don't know how you single out a certain group. Are they going to say if you're baldheaded you can't take off on Mondays?" he said.

"I think (Byrne) will do a good job as chancellor," Morrison said. "My problem is not that he's approaching it, but how he's approaching it."

Supporters say the policies are needed to help reform the troubled system, which has seen indictments of top administrators in an ongoing federal and state investigation.

There appeared to be majority support for the double dipping ban among the nine-member board at Monday's work session, but there was much discussion over the flextime policy.

System employees get two paid personal days a year and up to 24 paid vacation days annually after 20 years of employment.

Byrne's original policy would have restricted all employees from doing any paid work while using paid vacation or personal days, but he changed that Monday, saying "it seems to me that the better thing to do is to leave that up to the employee."

Employees can get unpaid leave for maternity, family and medical purposes and professional development such as sabbaticals. It is unpaid personal leave that requires the chancellor's approval, Byrne said.


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