Blytheville City Council looks to change employee handbook

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - In Blytheville, the City Council is discussing possible updates to the current city employee handbook. One suggestion could even open up employment opportunities to the surrounding area.

"We're trying to cross our T's and dot our I's in this administration," said Stan Parks, who is a Councilman for the city of Blytheville. This past Monday, he says the City Council's Personnel Committee met to discuss possible changes to the city's employee handbook. One being a new residency policy for city employees, allowing them to live within a 10-mile radius of Franklin and Main Street.  It's a change, Parks expects would open up opportunity for people in the surrounding area, but it would exclude officers in uniform.

"We started reviewing the old handbook and various areas of it. One suggestion was made to open up the policy for uniformed officers outside the 10 mile radius of the city," said Parks.

Currently, officers with the Blytheville Police Department must live within the city limits, the adjustment would allow officers to reside in the county outside the city limits.

"It would give them a wider pool to draw from, that's how it was presented to us as a suggestion to the committee. But on the other hand, there would be restrictions, like they can't have a take home vehicle like some of the other officers," said Parks. They also wouldn't be able to be a part of certain areas of the department, such as the Special Response Team because of the distance.

This is just one of several other policy changes to the handbook, Parks says this particular suggestion was brought up due to some issues in the past.

"I believe it's because, in the past administration, there were some lawsuits filed. I do not know the details, but I think there was some filed due to the residency requirement of some police officers," said Parks.

There has been some resistance to the change, and it's still in the early stages. The City Council Personnel Committee is expected to meet again later this month to continue ironing out the details. The proposed handbook could be drawn up by the City Council meeting next month.

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