December 04, 2002 11:00 pm

With no discussion, the Union County commissioners Wednesday approved a policy that would allow county employees to keep for their personal use frequent flier miles earned while on county business.

Action on the county policy came during the consent agenda portion of the meeting that normally includes such items as routine financial information and minutes of previous meetings.

The new policy states: "Â…Travel on behalf of Union County often takes place on what otherwise would be non-work time, including traveling or staying over weekends so as to secure the lowest total travel costsÂ…."

Marlene Perkins, the county's administrative officer, said county employees and the commissioners often have to fly on Saturday or Sunday.

Outgoing Commissioner John Howard has applied frequent flier miles to his costs of travel for county business, but Commissioners Colleen MacLeod and Steve McClure have not signed up for frequent flier miles, Perkins said.

The policy specifically includes frequent flier miles as part of the county's benefit package. Under the policy, county employees will have the right to use individually compiled frequent flier miles for vacation or other personal travel.

Perkins said she and other county officials sometimes travel to national or regional meetings or conventions of county organizations, such as the National Association of Counties. When that happens, the organization, not the county, pays the travel costs.

In recent years, the commissioners have traveled to Washington, D.C., on several occasions, to attend meetings or lobby for federal legislation supported by Oregon counties.