CANYON CITY - Grant County Road Master Mark Hensley will go to part-time status effective with the county pay period starting March 26.

Hensley asked the Grant County Court to allow the scaled-back schedule, and the court approved the request at its Wednesday, March 18 meeting.

"I think it's best for all parties concerned," said County Judge Mark Webb.

The change comes amid continuing rift between management and the union-represented road crew at the department.

The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 701, has filed a series of grievances over scheduling, discipline and other issues at the Road Department in recent months.

In February, the union filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the Oregon Employment Relations Board. A hearing in that case has not yet been set.

Hensley has been using vacation time in recent weeks while also handling some duties. Meanwhile, Webb is filling in to direct the road crew and deal with scheduling tasks.

Hensley was not at the court meeting this week, but Webb said the part-time arrangement would have the road master handle administrative and department matters other than dealing with the crew. Hensley is expected to work 20 to 29 hours a week.

Asked about a timeline for the new arrangement, Commissioner Boyd Britton said he'd like to try it for six months and then revisit the siutation.

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