The former rule stated that an employee would become permanent after a 180-day probation period automatically unless the Abbeville City Council voted otherwise. The new ruling described the process as that after the 180 days, the council would have to vote to make the hire permanent or to terminate the employee.
An issue did arise in properly communicating the changes. The Abbeville City Council discussed the situation Tuesday at its regular meeting.
“After the amendment was done, the information was not given to the Web master who runs the city’s Web site,” City Attorney Ike Funderburk told the council. “So the old rule stayed on the Web site. For nearly four years we have been functioning under the old rule.
“Anybody who was looking at the rules and regulations for the Civil Service system for the City of Abbeville was seeing what was there before because they didn’t get the amendment.”
Councilman Francis Touchet, District B, made a motion that the council confirm the employees either hired or who received promotions or new job titles prior to Feb. 29 of this year going back to the December ‘08, the timing of the amendment.
“We need to get those people taken care of,” Touchet said.
Councilman Wayne Landry, District D, seconded the motion, which passed 5-0. Abbeville Mayor Mark Piazza said he agreed with the move.
“We have some very dedicated employees who are in this four-year window and we need to get them taken care of,” Piazza said.
Touchet also suggested the council bring a change to the Civil Service Board that the council can extend 30 days to the six-month probation period.
“I just don’t like being tied to just six months,” Touchet said. “My recommendation is to give us an extra 30 days to see whether or not this person would be in a permanent status with the city.
“I just think we need some extra time sometimes with these employees.”
Councilman-at-large Francis Plaisance disagreed.
“I don’t think we should,” Plaisance said. “I think the system should be rigid and set in place, the same with all of the other civil service systems that I know of.
“I think six months is plenty enough time for us to evaluate someone.”
Touchet made the motion for the extra 30 days, to which Landry offered a second. That motion passed 3-2, with Plaisance and Councilman Louis Joe Hardy, District A, voting against. That came after the council voted 3-2 against a substitute motion by Plaisance for six months and no added time. Touchet, Landry and Councilman Brady Broussard Jr., District C, voted against.
With Touchet’s motion would also request to the Civil Service Board that it reinstate the prior rule that an employee would become permanent after the 210 days if the council makes no decision to the contrary.