Covington City Council updates human resources policy

COVINGTON — In efforts to improve the city of Covington’s human resources policy, the City Council approved the addition of two new guidelines to the handbook.

The city information technology staff deemed it important to enforce a computer use policy. The guidelines state employees should have no expectation of privacy since the computer is the city’s property.

The computer use policy states, “The city can monitor its computers for compliance and may inspect all files and messages at any time.”

Human Resources Director Ronnie Cowan said the policy is to ensure that the city’s integrity is upheld.

“We want to make sure our employees are not compromising the integrity of the city by looking at inappropriate emails or doing anything that could cause a virus,” Cowan said. “It’s a good policy to have just in case an employee does something that brings harm to the city’s hardware and software.”

Council member Hawnethia Williams said the policy is relative to “our times and it’s a good idea to have this policy in place before any incidents occur.”

Another new policy the council agreed to add was the procedure to “call-in essential employees.” The policy will help the city better respond to emergency situations by designating employees in various departments as “essential.”

The policy states that “essential employees” refers to those who must report to work regardless of weather-related situations.

“It will be an outline of what employees are considered essential and used in times of issues such as the recent snow storm,” City Manager Leigh Anne Knight said. “While this is a new, written policy, we’ve already experienced a situation when we had to name who is required to be here and who we would go pick up in order to have them at work.”

The essential employees would be designated by the various department heads and include all scheduled duty police, fire and 911 personnel.

City officials also added a few provisions under other sections of current human resources policy. The requirement of light duty work was added under the Family and Medical Leave section and more examples were added to the Prohibited Conduct policy, including an example of an employee indicted or convicted of violating the city charter, city ordinances, state or federal laws.