Employees for Utah County may cut lawns, clean carpets or sell personal products door-to-door on their own time. But they can't work for the same boss in both places.
Nor can they employ that boss. Those in charge feel it can cause too much potential conflict and possible harm to do otherwise.Some of those affected by the policy - known as the direct-hire policy listed under incompatible outside activities in the county's policies and procedures manual - feel it overreaches what an employer can say about how one uses his or her personal time.
"I think (the county) is going outside the scope of the policy," said an employee whose request was denied. "We've had words about it."
"It's really unusual," said Felix McGowan, personnel director for Salt Lake County. "I'm trying to figure what they think the potential problems might be."
McGowan said while Salt Lake County's polices require employees to disclose the nature of their outside employment and avoid second jobs that may present a conflict of interest with their primary employment, Salt Lake County does not specify avoiding duplicating the chain of command.
Utah County's policy spells it out: "As a condition of outside private sector employment, the employee may not employ or supervise anyone under the employee's direct or indirect supervision within the county."
Commissioner Jerry Grover said the policy had been in place long before he came on the commission but since August, there have been efforts made to more clearly state what the county intends to de-mand.
Grover said the commission only sees those notices from employees who intend to hire or work for someone they already directly supervise or work beneath.
Of those brought before the commission since his election, he said only one "request" for outside hiring has been denied.
Grover said the current policy is "more or less a reaction to a couple of situations" that had employees making sales down line from a supervisor. Those employees felt they could not complain in either work situation about shortcomings or policy violations they thought they saw occurring.
"Again, the issue is simply that an outside contractual relationship may interfere with the job they're hired to do for the county," Grover said. "And the language was not clear. We're just being more specific."
Personnel director Susan Preator said since she came on board with the county, she's been trying to help clarify the policy.
"We're attempting to avoid the kind of potential problems we can see coming from people supervising those who supervise them. It's something we don't want," Preator said.
She listed employees who may feel coerced in one job or the other to give preferential treatment or who feel fettered when it came to reporting an abuse of power or unprofessional conduct as possible problem areas.
Preator said currently every county employee is asked to report the nature of any outside employment and keep the county updated as situations change.
She reviews each disclosure and takes only those that may involve direct or indirect supervisory problems to the commissioners.
"They make the decisions from there," she said. "We also ask our attorneys to review the individual situations."
Preator said there's no intent to harm or hamstring an employee, sim-ply an effort to make sure the county does not get shortchanged when an employee takes on another job.