Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

March 12, 2013

Officials debate jeans in courthouse

Miami County commissioners split on appropriate dress

— PERU — There’s a new hot-button issue inside the Miami County Courthouse, but it has nothing to do with budget cuts or new state legislation.

It’s about whether county employees can wear jeans to work.

County commissioners last week called all department heads to a meeting, where they discussed proper attire for workers inside the courthouse.

Commissioner Jerry Hamman criticized some employees for wearing clothing during the summer that he described as “more suitable to the beach or a picnic than a county government office.”

Hamman said he’s heard complaints about employees’ appearance, and he wanted to do away with casual Fridays, where workers are permitted to wear jeans. He said employees should wear business attire.

“I understand that casual Friday is a perk many of our county employees enjoy,” he said. “Unfortunately, the nature of the business that people conduct in this courthouse isn’t a reason for celebration. Being at the courthouse is like calling a police officer. People never call the police to have a cup of coffee or a piece of pie. People are here because they have a problem or a duty.”

That statement drew fire from Treasurer Becky Morris.

“What a black cloud you just put over our heads,” she said. “It’s like everything the staff in the courthouse is doing is bad. You’re taking away anything that might be a little bit fun. I’m concerned about the way this is being addressed.”

Commissioners met again Monday to discuss attire after county workers said they were confused after last week’s meeting about whether they could wear jeans to work.

Hamman said Monday he thought some employees were abusing casual Fridays and restated he wanted to ban jeans inside the courthouse.

“They carried it too far,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind it if we did it like a bank or school. But they’ve carried it too far ... You give them an inch, and they take a mile.”

Commissioners Josh Francis and Larry West, however, said they didn’t have problems with casual attire as long at it appeared professional.

West pointed out the current draft of the county employee handbook states workers only need to use good judgment and maintain high standards in cleanliness and dress that “create a favorable image.”

“My feeling is that we’re not saying employees can’t have casual Fridays,” he said. “We’re just asking them to be in compliance with the handbook.”

Francis agreed jeans and other clothing were fine as long as they look “nice and clean.”

“As long as they’re wearing appropriate things, I don’t have a problem with it,” he said, adding he has noticed some workers wearing ragged jeans. “But we need to make sure they’re wearing appropriate clothes.”

Commissioners then voted to send out a courthouse-wide memo stating employees could wear jeans to work but not T-shirts. Hamman voted against the motion. Francis and West voted for it.

Auditor Jane Lilley said she sent out the memo Tuesday afternoon.

Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He may be reached at 765-854-6739, or by email at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Former county official pleads guilty to conversion One of two former county officials charged with theft and official misconduct was sentenced last week to a two-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges. Darrell Reed, 52, pleaded guilty to two Class A misdemeanor conversio

    July 24, 2014

  • NWS - KT072514 Kokomo School Board - pic Blueprints found during demolition aid Central Middle School remodel

    When workers began the tear down for renovations to the Central Middle School auditorium, they stumbled upon something very important and helpful sifting through the century-old material. Tucked away inside the structure were the original blueprints,

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burlington woman charged in May fatal crash A 26-year-old Burlington woman is being accused of driving drunk causing the death of a Frankfort man in a May 2 accident near the Howard-Tipton county line. Howard County sheriff deputies served a warrant on Casie E. Johnson on Wednesday charging he

    July 24, 2014

  • Lake Co. judge strikes down Indiana right-to-work INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Lake County judge struck down Indiana's right-to-work ban on certain union fees in a second legal blow to the contentious law passed in 2012. Lake County Circuit Court Judge George Paras determined the law violates the state co

    July 24, 2014

  • Kokomo man charged with sexual misconduct with a minor Kokomo police arrested a 20-year-old man Tuesday afternoon on a warrant charging him with sexual misconduct with a minor involving a 14-year-old girl.Officers arrested Malachi Ely at 4:38 p.m. at his residence in the 500 block of South Goyer Road on

    July 24, 2014

  • Howard County rejected for state preschool pilot Howard County is not among the five counties selected for Indiana’s new preschool voucher pilot.Gov. Mike Pence announced Tuesday that Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties will roll out the program in 2015. Eighteen counties, includi

    July 24, 2014

  • Peru dam Who should fix the dams? PERU — Who has jurisdiction over six dams located in the Hidden Hills housing addition just north of Peru, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources or the people who own the land?It’s a question with a lot riding on it — more than $1.5 million, in

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kokomo Airport runway extension nearing completion After more than a decade of waiting, a runway extension project that will allow the Kokomo Municipal Airport to attract new business will soon be prepared for takeoff.The project, which will extend the airport’s main runway from 5,200 feet to 6,000 f

    July 24, 2014

  • NWS KT 072314 Serena Youth Center pic Serena Youth Center to offer safe haven for young women

    Young women in Kokomo in need of security and additional support will soon have a new place to call home as plans move forward to open the Serena Youth Center. On Tuesday, Coordinated Assistance Ministries Inc. closed on a property for the youth cent

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Residents organize outreach for fire victims Josh and Courtney Justice lost everything they owned Tuesday afternoon after a fire ravaged their home in Indian Heights. The community has been reaching out to help replace some of what was destroyed. Just hours after the blaze displaced the Justice

    July 23, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.