OATH OF OFFICE … City of Wauseon Mayor Kathy Huner reads the Oath Of Office as part of swearing in the fire department’s newest firefighter Chad Branum. Branum was presented a symbolic flag, to which he will raise on his first and last day on the department. (PHOTO BY LINDSAY PHILLIPS, STAFF)
By: Lindsay Phillips
Wauseon City Council held their latest meeting on November 21 at 5:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers.
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Kathy Huner and was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence.
A roll call was taken by Clerk of Council Korin Baumgartner before the minutes from the previous council meeting on November 7 and the Committee of the Whole meeting on November 17 were approved.
A tradition of the Wauseon Fire Department is to give each probationary firefighter an American flag.
On the firefighter’s first official day they are to raise the flag. The flag then remains at the station until the firefighter’s last day, in which he or she will raise the flag one last time signifying completion of duty.
Should the firefighter fall in the line of duty, the flag will be given to the family for the comfort of knowing it was last touched by their loved one doing what they loved, being a firefighter.
Mayor Huner proceeded to read the Oath of Office to swear in the department’s newest member, Chad Branum.
With no public wishing to address council, the meeting moved on to department head reports. Fire Chief Phil Kessler was the only department head in attendance and shared, “I’ve been working with individuals that helped us out at Pettisville last week setting up follow-up debriefings and future training.”
“Having not had one of those incidents, that came together as what we would’ve planned it to, but it worked well. I can’t say enough for the departments who helped us and Gerald Grain.”
Council member Sarah Heising shared on behalf of the Personnel Committee Meeting on November 7, to discuss the non-union employee vacation time.
Heising stated, “The employees get one week at a year, two weeks at two years, three weeks at eight years, four weeks at fifteen years, and five years at twenty-five years.”
Heising added, “One of the issues that they were asking to change is the one week at a year. Currently at one week, this posts problems for new employees, so the recommendation is to move it to ninety days.”
Heising stated, “Another issue is at retirement, which would be at twenty-five years, would be when they’d get the maximum allowance that they couldn’t enjoy.”
“So, the recommendation was to move it to fifteen years for five weeks maximum vacation.”
Heising shared, “the only issue that came up was that Police Chief Kevin Chittenden said that because of the way some of his employees would have one kind of vacation policy and others would have another, that may cause an issue, but other than that there were no other issues.”
Following a short amount of discussion, a recommendation that the City of Wauseon update their vacation policy in the handbook to the following was approved: ninety days and one year for one week, two years for two weeks, six years for three weeks, ten years for four weeks and fifteen years for five weeks.
Tree Commission representative Scott Stiriz updated council on the November 17 meeting and stated, “Tree USA is May 10, 2023, and they decided on a venue which will be Crossroads and a caterer which will be D&J Catering, and they also decided on centerpieces and flowerpots for the tables.
The next meeting will be December 13 and will be a joint meeting with the Park Board and Tree Commission and they’ll discuss the tree that is getting awarded at the park.”
A first reading of Resolution 2022-30, a resolution adjusting the compensation plans wage scale based on the Consumer Price Index and declaring it an emergency, was read, and accepted by council.
A second reading of Resolution 2022-28, a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement for Indigent Defense services in county court with the Fulton County Commissioners was motioned and approved by council.
A third and final reading of Resolution 2022-26, a resolution authorizing the mayor and her designee to accept the lowest and best bid and to enter a contract with the lowest and best bidder for the refuse franchise.
In old business, Huner shared, “On December 4th we have Welcome to Bethlehem happening and Singing with the Mayor on December 3rd.”
These are only a few of the holiday events in Wauseon that are taking place before council’s next meeting.
A motion to approve and pay the bills as presented was moved by councilor Schneider and seconded by councilor Heising.
With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 5:27 p.m.
Lindsay can be reached at email@example.com