A July 25
Joseph City Council meeting formulated job descriptions and pay rates for the positions of two key employees who had recently resigned their posts. The two employees, city recorder and administrator Donna Warnock and public works supervisor Jim Lewis, unexpectedly resigned the previous week and will leave their posts on Aug. 2.
Although the July 25 meeting went relatively smoothly, it also showed a council split on budget priorities and the duties of the individuals filling the two vacant positions.
The council’s discussion of the city administrator role included the pay rate and changing its duties as well. Council member Teresa Sajonia suggested that to save money, the council could limit the position’s duties to strictly that of recorder with a lower salary and use the savings to hire a city manager who would double as the public works supervisor while still mainly working from city hall. She believes the savings would also result in the council being able to hire a third worker for the public works department.
Mayor Dennis Sands and council member George Ballard said the city manager idea had been discussed several times in past years. Sands said that after speaking with other cities on the issue, he doubted the city had the population and revenue to support such a move.
Council member Tom Clevenger asked what the point was in changing the job descriptions when they seemed to work fine, and council member Tyler Evans agreed that Sajonia’s idea would save money. Clevenger’s idea was to appoint one of the positions as “in charge” to solve the problem while Evans said he believed the city couldn’t afford to pay for both positions.
“We can afford both of these; we’re affording them right now,” Clevenger said.
Evans argued that as the city wasn’t paying for Lewis’ retirement and other benefits, the position’s current salary didn’t accurately reflect what a new hire would cost the city. Sands said that he favored keeping the positions as-is.
Calculations showed that the position with full benefits would cost the city approximately $73,000 per year. Lewis made around $52,000 annually.
The council voted Sands as the liaison between the public works employees and the city until the public works supervisor post is filled. Evans and Sajonia, who had argued for two liaisons, were the two dissenting votes.
Sands also led the charge to keep the two positions with virtually the same job descriptions, he pointed out that someone with qualifications for both a city manager and with the sewer and water certification required for the public works supervisor would be difficult to find.
After some discussion, the resulting vote saw most of the council voting with Sands. Sajonia cast the lone dissenting vote.
The council decided to streamline the job descriptions of both positions for advertising purposes and decided on the salaries of each. The public works supervisor position will post for a salary range of $41,600 to $55,000 annually plus retirement and health insurance benefits, depending on experience. The city settled on a recorder/administrator position salary of $33,000 to $43,000 with the same benefits package. Warnock earned in the neighborhood of $43,000 annually plus benefits.
The council also agreed to review and rework the job descriptions of both posts by Oct. 15.