The Utah County Employees Association can live with a new reduction-in-force policy, but the association's president says it falls short by not recognizing performance as a factor in laying off employees.

Utah County commissioners hope the new policy will see them through massive layoffs they say could result from passage of tax limitation initiatives this fall. In addition, they hope the policy, based on seniority, will help the county avoid lawsuits when forced to lay off employees.Employees association President Paula Tomlin said the policy ignores employee behavior and performance, recognizing only seniority. She said seniority doesn't always weed out poor employees and the new policy could preserve employee "deadwood" at the expense of newer, better county workers.

"It's not necessarily our preference," she said of the policy. "But we just don't think the commission will go with anything else."

Commissioners, however, did address ambiguities Tomlin pointed out in the policy during a meeting last week. She said the policy was unclear regarding interdepartmental bumping.

But according to the revised policy passed Monday, bumping rights apply only to the department in which the worker is employed.

"Senior employees are permitted to replace junior workers (in the same or lower position) and assume their jobs at the grade level of the junior worker," the policy says. "Senior employees must have performed the work for Utah County at some previous time and require little or no training."