DANE COUNTY HONORED FOR SUPPORT OF ACTIVE MILITARY EMPLOYEES
June 01, 2006
Joanne Haas, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
Dane County was honored Wednesday by officers of Wisconsin’s Air National Guard, 115th Fighter Wing, for championing policies to support county employees on active military duty and their families.
“Dane County was among the first to enact policies to assist our employees called to duty and their family members left behind,” Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said. “We are proud of their service and want to make these valued workers, as well as their families back home, know we support them.”
The plaque from the U.S. Department of Defense reflects Dane County’s outstanding record as an employer supporting members of the Guard and Reserve. Falk accepted the award on behalf of the county from Col. Joe Brandemuehl, commander of the 115th Fighter Wing, and Sgt. Andy Pipping, also of the 115th Fighter Wing.
“We just did it. It was the right thing to do,” Falk said of the county’s 2003 ordinance ensuring active duty county employees continue to earn their salaries and accumulate vacation and sick day benefits while serving the country.
The ordinance provides for full county pay to the employee for the first 30 days of military service. After the first 30 days, the county provides the worker supplemental pay to make up the difference between the employee’s military pay and his or her county salary. Dane County had 8 employees on military leave in 2005 and 7 to date in 2006.
Also, in 2005, Dane County created a $25,000 fund to provide assistance to family members of county employees who have been deployed or have served in the Middle East. This fund, created by County Executive Falk and the County Board, is for military families to use when hit with temporary financial emergencies.
Falk also expressed gratitude to the Dane County workers who have gone above and beyond their job responsibilities to handle the workload of their colleagues on duty. This is the case in the Dane County Corporation Counsel’s office where assistant counsel David Gault was called to serve in May 2005. Gault, who is due back in July, is a lieutenant colonel and member of the Judge Advocate General unit.
“He left an enormous hole. He was our go-to guy,” County Corporation Counsel Marcia MacKenzie said, noting Gault keeps in touch with the county office by e-mail and assists when he can while on duty in Kuwait and Iraq. While Gault is gone, MacKenzie says the entire staff has not hesitated to pick up extra duties. “People really stepped up to the plate. All his colleagues have helped.”
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