Our thoughts

The Covington News - - OPINION -

Travel

Train­ing is valu­able and of­ten re­quired, but we haven’t seen any prac­ti­cal rea­sons pre­sented for the Covington City Coun­cil to change the city’s travel pol­icy for em­ploy­ees.

The cur­rent plan, which al­lows em­ploy­ees to get overnight lodg­ing for train­ing classes more than 50 miles away from City Hall, seems to work just fine. And if it’s not, there would seem to be bet­ter, more nu­anced so­lu­tions than just re­duc­ing that limit to 35 miles for mul­ti­day classes (sin­gle-day classes would stay at 50 miles un­der the pro­posed change).

The ar­gu­ment pre­sented Mon­day is that parts of At­lanta, as well as all of Athens and Forsyth – all three are pop­u­lar train­ing spots – are more than 35 miles away but less than 50, and the city doesn’t want em­ploy­ees driv­ing home late from classes.

First – and the city may al­ready be do­ing some of this – in today’s world of we­bi­nars, smart phones and Skype, the city needs to be ex­plor­ing ev­ery op­tion to save time and money. The world is sup­posed to be shrink­ing with tech­nol­ogy, so let’s use that to our ad­van­tage.

We agree with the de­ci­sion of coun­cil­men Dal­ton, Smith and What­ley and the mayor to ques­tion a blan­ket change for city staffers and coun­cil mem­bers.

Ev­ery time you drive in to At­lanta, Athens or Forsyth, do you re­ally need a whole night of rest be­fore trav­el­ing back? Ho­tels can be ex­pen­sive, and if you stay overnight you could eas­ily put two ex­tra meals on the city’s tab. We se­ri­ously doubt that many area busi­nesses, whose taxes and util­ity pay­ments sup­port the city, have sim­i­lar poli­cies.

We have a few sim­ple sug­ges­tions. If a multi-day class ends later than 10 p.m., then a ho­tel stay might be jus­ti­fied, par­tic­u­larly if train­ing re­sumes the next morn­ing. If there is no class the next day, no ho­tel stay should be granted, un­less the class is end­ing at or af­ter mid­night. If an em­ployee truly fees un­safe driv­ing, he or she should be able to call a man­ager on a case-by-case ba­sis. We imagine all of the above sce­nar­ios would rarely come into play.

Spe­cific is­sues need to be clearly ar­tic­u­lated, so spe­cific so­lu­tions can be de­rived. A blan­ket pol­icy change could end up cost­ing the city un­nec­es­sary money.

Em­ploy­ees de­serve to be treated well, but this is one ben­e­fit we don’t think needs to be given. In fact, in this new mod­ern age of tech­nol­ogy, we could more eas­ily see the coun­cil want­ing to in­crease the min­i­mum mileage re­quire­ment for one-day classes as part of an over­haul.

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