Portland is making efforts to attract new employees and to help them attain new skills once on staff.

On Thursday, Portland Board of Works approved a lateral transfer policy for all departments that did not already have one in place. It also OK’d reimbursement for employees who need training to earn a commercial driver’s license.

Board members Jerry Leonhard, Steve McIntosh and Mayor John Boggs approved the policy for the city’s water, wastewater, street and water departments as well as administration. It allows job candidates who are already enrolled in the Public Employees Retirement Fund to retain years of service toward vacation if they are hired by the city.

Portland City Council approved the policy last month.

A more extensive lateral transfer policy for the city’s police department was approved last year. Experienced officers who are hired from other departments get bonuses of $1,000 after the first year, $1,500 after the second and $2,500 after the third. (The policy is designed to attract officers from other departments, potentially saving money and time required to send new officers for training at Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.)

The board also approved a policy to pay for the cost of CDL training for city employees who require those skills. They will also be paid their salary while they are being trained. (In-person classes are now required by law before receiving a CDL.)

The policy requires that employees reimburse the cost of the training if they leave less than three years after completing it.

Before the policy was OK’d, McIntosh expressed concern that it might result in the city being used as a stepping stone for individuals to obtain their CDL and then move on to another job.

“That’s the reason we have three years in there,” said Leonhard of the policy.

The board also approved sewer and water taps for Berry Construction, which is building the new urgent care facility at 980 N. Meridian St.