The Edon Village Council met in regular session on Monday, December 19, 2016.
The major topic of discussion was whether or not to advertise for a maintenance worker for the village. After a lengthy discussion it was determined that the desired candidate would hold a Wastewater Treatment II and Water Supply I EPA License. Other preferred qualifications of the employee include that the person hired work with Street Department as needed as a maintenance worker and would hold a minimum CDL Class B license as well and occasionally plow or perform other maintenance duties. The Village is hoping for a three year commitment from this person. The pay rate would be $20 per hour with a six month probationary period. The deadline for application is February 10. The Public Works Committee will work with Village Administrator, Randy Mahlman, on the deciding who to interview for the position. The target date for hiring will be February 20.
Council member Andy Ledyard shared this recommendation came out of the meeting of the Public Works Committee. They believe the village needs to have back up for the village administrator who right now is the only village employee that has the desired licenses. The committee also believed this person would free up Mahlman to do more in his position of Village Administrator as currently he spends 20 hours per week at the wastewater treatment plant. The belief is that they need to, if possible, hire someone who already has these licenses. In the past the hires have had to been trained and take continuing education courses to obtain the required licenses. One person hired left after one year and another after six months. That is why the council wants the three year contract. They also want to enable Mahlman to concentrate more on other facets of the village, not so much on the water treatment plant.
Dick Chapin shared his feelings on the matter. “I think what we had worked pretty good. I think we need to go back to square one and let Randy do his job. We already have one guy who has his water license. That gives him an incentive to work and get an increase in pay. I think you are dreaming in what you are doing there (the desired qualifications of the applicants) and it is a disgrace that we have went this long without hiring someone to help pick up leaves and plow snow. Randy is doing a heck of a job down there and doing his administrative job while also down there at the sewer plant. We need to stop micromanaging Randy!”
Councilman Chip Hulbert added. “Well I think if the car is broke and you want to keep pushing it down the street you can do that, or you can fix the car so it goes down the street itself. We can’t just keep sitting on our hands. Randy needs to be more of a village administrator and less of a water/sewer guy. I think that is what we all want. We want him to bring business to town, look for grants, etc. He can’t do all we are asking him to do and be great at it. We are pulling him too many different directions. He’s been pulled too many different directions the whole time he has been here.” Hulbert feels there is a problem and it needs resolved. “Why have the employees left? We need to address that first before we hire anyone!”
Chapin went on to say, “It’s also a financial burden on the community. We have to look at our finances and see what we can afford.”
Councilman Lee Lawrence shared the water and sewer fund would be able to handle the costs of the proposed employment, but the general fund could not. He thought the hiring would be a good idea.
Mahlman expressed his feelings regarding the position. “I want somebody…somebody. I would prefer somebody with the licenses if possible.”
After the discussion council agreed to advertise for a maintenance worker with the qualifications stated above. Council approved this by a unanimous vote.
In additional items, Police officer, Scott Wilson, reported last week he attended the Williams County Police Chief’s Meeting. In that meeting Stryker Police Chief Steven Schlosser shared a letter he had drafted regarding mutual aid procedures for the Williams County Village Police Departments. The letter was written in response to the correspondence Williams County Sheriff Steve Towns had previously sent to the local departments outlining his expectations for mutual aid from the local departments outside of their jurisdiction. Officer Wilson provided a copy to each of the council members, as well as recommending that Village Solicitor, Tom Thompson review the letter.
Randy Mahlman, Village Administrator, updated the Council on the following:
1. An update on the EPA Sheet was provided. This was mentioned at the last meeting and is required before the EPA can approve the water treatment plant permit. Site testing has been completed and results are being sent in.
2. Snow plowing has kept the maintenance department very busy the past two weeks.
3. Dan Ankney passed Water Supply I Test for the EPA. He is on his way to becoming a Water Supply I Operator.
4. Lift pump on East Elm Street has had issues. It is connected inside a resident’s garage and the village is working on wiring it to the outside so the resident does not have to be contacted or inconvenienced when work is needed on the pump.
5. Property/Casualty Insurance Meeting was held at the beginning of the week. Before the next meeting Mr. Mahlman will have a copy of the insurance policy for council to review and renew for the following year.
In Old Business:
1. At recommendation of Mayor Duane Thiel, council approved to table the wages of employees for 2017, until it is determined who is hired for the newly advertised maintenance worker position, and what that person will be paid.
2. Approved the 3rd and final Reading of Ordinance 06-16 Zoning. This ordinance addresses adopting amendments to the text of the village meeting zoning ordinance regarding the maximum size and lot coverage area for certain accessary structures modifying rules regarding fencing around private swimming pools and modifying the time frames in which certain actions must be taken for future amendments to the zoning ordinance. The 3rd reading passed by a 5-1 vote with council member, Chip Hulbert, casting the dissenting vote, just as he did for the 2nd Reading in November.
3. An update on the Employee Handbook was presented again this month by Village Solicitor Tom Thompson. Discussion on sick days, holidays, personal leave, medical insurance, and fringe benefits were discussed. The appeal/grievance process for employees was also addressed. The council directed Thompson to make the recommended changes and bring them to the next meeting.
4. A brief discussion was held on possibly streaming the Council meetings on Facebook live or YouTube with no decision being made whether to pursue the option.
New Business included:
1. Suspension of the Rules and Approving Ordinance 08-16 Temporary Appropriations. This will allow the village the funds necessary to pay bills and employees until the 2017 Organizational Meeting on January 16, 2017.
2. Approved Village Solicitor Contract for 2017. The rate is $115 per hour which is the same rate as 2016. Mayor Thiel noted if needed services for real estate and income tax matters are not included in this contract and are charged under a separate flat fee schedule. The vote was 5-1 with Andy Ledyard casting a “No” vote.
Council entered into Executive Session to discuss imminent litigation and employee compensation with no action anticipated. Although he was in attendance, there was no update provided on the status of Police Chief, Tom Szymczak, who has been on paid administrative leave since the fatal shooting of John Anderson on June 16, 2016. On November 2, 2016, the Williams County Grand Jury decided not to indict Szymczak in regards to the shooting. Before entering Executive Session Mayor Thiel asked if anyone in attendance had any comments. One unidentified visitor stated, “Make a decision!”
Edon Village Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be Monday, January 16, 2017, at 7 pm.
Kent Hutchison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org