By BEN GRAFTON
A lengthy discussion about different personnel matters occupied the Freeport City Council members at their workshop on Nov. 1, at which City Clerk Robin Haynes led off by presenting a draft version of a city organization flow chart to illustrate the assignment of each employee within each of the city’s departments.
Haynes explained employees have been told what is expected of them, but one of the problems is that employees working in the same office know when something bad happens, but no one wants to correct the problem. Haynes is looking for a long term solution to this problem.
Haynes commented that her big concern is that a lot of money is sitting there in accounts receivable and when an error occurs it should be identified and corrected promptly, not later.
“So,” Haynes said, “what I’m asking is … when we start evaluations, talking to each employee, whether it someone from the water department, the billing department or the fire department, is making them accountable for what we are saying they are responsible for.” She continued, “We need to put some teeth into, ‘this is what we’re here to do and now this is what we need to do.'”
Councilman Ray Jackson said, “Well, I think our teeth are in…the evaluation.” When the employee asks why he didn’t get a raise, “You tell him.”
Councilman Earl King added, “The teeth also will be the education up front, prior to the evaluation. Because when you give that authority you say you are responsible. And if he says, ‘I don’t want to be responsible,’ then you say, ‘Either get the books and get them straight or we’ll find somebody else that can.'”
Haynes distributed revised personnel evaluation forms to the Council for review and approval. She noted that the city does not currently have job descriptions for part time or temporary employees.
Next year each employee will have two evaluations.
A discussion ensued about personnel shortages in the water department. One man is out on Worker’s Compensation and another has serious health problems. One will come back to work, maybe both will. King noted that the water department was already one man behind. They definitely need to hire at least one full time employee and they need to make sure he is well qualified.
Interim Fire Chief Russell Beaty proposed hiring a new firefighter who would fill the need for an administrator and for a replacement when a regular shift firefighter is out sick or on leave.
Beaty then made a recommendation for a reorganization of the fire department. A position for a captain, who would report to the chief, would be created and one person on each of the three shifts would become a lead firefighter (lieutenant), reporting to the captain. The lieutenant would be responsible for the shift’s staffing and operations. Each lieutenant could call on part time firefighters and volunteers as needed. This presentation was well received.
The budget provides for an overall increase of 4 percent for wage and salary costs in 2012-2013. This could be used to cover new positions created and provide a pay increase for existing employees. In general, the Council agreed to Marse’s proposal for a 3-percent cost of living pay raise.