PUBLIC HEARING … Fulton County Health Commissioner, Kim Cupp, as well as Howard and Judith Warncke are seen here following a public hearing concerning some land on which the Health Department would like to build an addition. Also in the picture is Wauseon Human Resources director Sarah Wheeler, who was there for other topics during the March 15, 2021 Wauseon City Council meeting. PHOTO BY REBECCCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
The discussion concerning personnel and job descriptions continued at the Monday evening, March 15, 2021, Wauseon City Council meeting, with Clerk of Council Andrea Gerken present by choice and at her post taking minutes and doing roll calls.
Council President Shane Chamberlin read the entire minutes of the Personnel Committee meeting which was held on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, at noon. Present for that meeting besides the three committee members (Chamberlin, Steve Schneider and Scott Stiriz) were City Law Director Tom McWatters, Finance Director Jamie Giguere, Human Resources officer Sarah Wheeler, Fire Chief Rick Sluder, Public Service Director Keith Torbet, council member Harold Stickley and Clerk of Council Andrea Gerken, as the clerk.
Prior to the discussion about the Clerk of Council position, at the Personnel meeting, Chamberlin addressed the “tabled recommendation” which happened at the March 1, 2021 Council meeting.
He said there is some confusion about pay increases that needs to be clarified. Torbet provided an explanation about the Point Factor Analysis for the positions in the Public Works department that will be changed when licensure is obtained by each employee.
“He said he plans to give no pay increases at this time as a result of these changes,” and there was general discussion about the positions. Chamberlin asked if the changes to Fire Captain/EMT position will require any increase in pay and Wheeler said that at this point, “the way that employee falls now, they would not be required to be given an increase, because they would still be within the new pay scale, but that is at the discretion of the department head.
Following more discussion, Chamberlin asked McWatters about the proper procedure to remove the previous recommendation from the table and McWatters explained that as it was tabled by Council, not the committee, the committee did not need any further action at this time.
Chamberlin continued at the March 15 meeting, from the Personnel committee minutes, explaining that a memo had been provided by McWatters. Quoting form the Minutes of the Personnel Committee meeting: “outlining the options to address the Clerk of Council job description.
He listed the options provided but stated that options 1 and 2 are not viable: 1. Do nothing, 2. Expand the Administrative Responsibilities on the Current Job Description, 3. Create Two Part-time positions, and 4. Eliminate Actual Administration Duties. Chamberlin said he is leaning toward option four and keeping the position full time.
He said they as council need to do a better job of making sure the clerk has more duties, and taking advantage of her talents. He said if they were hiring in a new person it would be different, but our current clerk was hired full-time and to take that away and make her lose full-time benefits would be inappropriate and Councilor Schneider agreed.
McWatters explained the potential legal ramifications if this matter is not addressed. Wheeler said this matter is being addressed because during COVID there was a lot of uncertainty with this employee as to who was the supervisor.
Chamberlin thought maybe changing the position to four, eight hour days to help reduce costs to the city. Torbet said he thinks moving this employee to four days a week is a stupid idea. He said he has no plans to make any changes to this position while he is here.
Chamberlin said he is worried about something happening in the future where this position as administrative support person, is eliminated. Chief Sluder said he is backing up Keith 100%. He said a lot of this goes back to trust between council and the mayor.
He said there is not a single department head that wants to see Andrea Gerken go anywhere. Wheeler said the way this matter has been handled is bringing down employee morale.
Chamberlin said he is concerned with the way the clerk is being treated. He said he doesn’t have trust in the administration’s handling of the clerk because it seems the clerk’s position is a target for the administration. Wheeler said there is someone who works in the building without any disciplinary supervision.
Councilor Scott Stiriz said he has seen President Chamberlin bend over backwards to try to get along with the mayor and she will not have it, and Chief Sluder said he agrees.
McWatters pointed out that if they decide to make it two part-time positions and the second one was eliminated, council would be able to then create a new job description making the position full-time. Chamberlin asked if there were any other comments or opinions.
Stickley said he does not want to see the clerk lose any hours. There was more discussion about the various options for this position.
President Chamberlin apologized to the clerk for the uncomfortable position she has been placed in and asked that she reach out to a committee member before the meeting if she is at all uncomfortable with their recommendation, or has any concerns.”
A motion was recommended by Personnel Committee to the Council, at the March 15 meeting, “to create two part time positions for the current Clerk of Council and Assistant to the Director of Public Service.”
Prior to voting on this recommendation, Mayor Kathy Huner said she had asked HR Sarah Wheeler to come in for the March 15 meeting in case anyone who was not at the meeting had any questions.
Council Member Patrick Griggs was the only one present at the March 15 meeting who was not there and he did not have any questions for Wheeler.
Huner said she wanted to say something concerning “the accusations and opinions about the clerk being targeted,” as she was not there to defend the administration at the March 9 Committee meeting.
She stated, “I, too, apologize Andrea that we have had to bring anything up in a meeting that you are being discussed.”
“I do know that Trudy was asked to come in if you did not want to attend these meetings. I thank you for coming back in to take the minutes. “
“As far as targeting from the administration, I think that is an awful, awful strong word, but it seems to be being thrown around quite a bit lately. I would agree with the administration that nobody wanted to see Andrea lose her job, from this administration. “
“I agree with Sarah when she stated we have a position that is very foggy, and nobody knew, including the clerk, that she didn’t know who to answer, didn’t know where to go. “COVID was not just harsh on the clerk and council, but on a lot of employees, so it kind of made a perfect storm as to have to go ahead and make recommendations on cleaning this up.”
“This isn’t the first time we have had clerk situations come forward that had to be discussed. Those are the only things I wanted to bring forward on behalf of the administration.”
Council voted and approved a motion “to remove from the table the Personnel Committee recommendation to accept the recommended updates to the job descriptions presented (at the March 1 meeting) except item #2, the Clerk of Council/Administrative Assistant to the Director of Public Service.”
Secondly, they voted to “accept the Personnel Committee recommendation to accept the recommended updates to the job descriptions presented except item #2, the Clerk of Council/Administrative to the Director of Public Service.
The third motion approved was a “motion to accept the Personnel Committee recommendation to create two part-time positions; the Clerk of Council and Assistant to the Director of Public Service.”
A Public Hearing was held at the beginning of the March 15 council meeting concerning the Rezoning of a parcel of land at 604-606 S. Shoup Ave. from R-4 (which is Multi family) to B-4 (which is Mixed Community use) in order to allow for the construction of an addition to the existing structure, the Health Department.
Howard and Judith Warncke, who live in the condo near the property, as well as Fulton County Health Commissioner Kim Cupp were present for the hearing. Mr. Warncke, asked if there was a timetable for the construction and Mayor Huner asked Cupp to address the question.
Cupp said at this time they do not have a timetable, but that it could be up to a year or two before they can begin, with all the changes in construction costs and other things that would need to be done. His other question was, “What are the city’s requirements for variances?”
Huner read the variances and encouraged the Warnke’s to come to the office when it is open and they can see all the specs for the zoning.
Warncke was also representing the residents of the condo as the President of the Association. With no other questions of discussion, the hearing was closed.
Council member Griggs gave a Tree Commission report saying that everyone, but Larry Frey and Dan Nelson were present for their meeting. The biggest discussion was the Arbor Day Celebration, which will be on April 5th.
Rick was checking with the principals at the school, to see if they can have a celebration of some kind. Some trees came in for replacements at Homecoming Park. Mayor Huner shared that she had heard from the schools that day and they do want to go ahead with the celebration as always.
In legal business, council voted to approve:
•First reading of Ordinance 2021-4 amending codified ordinance chapter 1117, establishment of districts and maps and amending the official zoning map
•Second reading of Resolution 5 approving the Solid Waste Management Plan update for the Joint Solid Wast Management District of Defiance, Fulton, Paulding and Williams Counties
•Third Reading of Ordinance 2 to amend Exhibit B of section 929 and section 933.02(a)(1) of the Codified ordinances to increase the water and sewer rates by 6% effective April 1, 2021; and declaring an emergency
•Third reading of Ordinance 3 to amend codified ordinance 933(b) to increase the restoration fee after service is disconnected due to non-payment to $50 and to add a $100 restoration fee for service restored during non business hours
•Third Reading of Resolution 4 Authorizing the Mayor to enter into an agreement with Sudsina and Associates to serve as an advisor for Debt offerings and other financings
•New Business: motion to accept the Mayor’s appointment of Scott Stiriz to the INTV Board
•Payment of the bills
With no further business, the meeting adjourned.
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com