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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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City Personnel Committee Okays Summer Help Options

Issue Date: February 3, 2022

The City of Peshtigo Personnel Committee meeting on Thursday, Jan. 27 began with Chairperson Debbie Sievert stating Parks and Rec Director Lori Tonn wants to get a headstart on hiring options for summer help for the Parks Department.

Tonn said, "This year we will be hiring by position instead of just straight summer help. I want to get a few people in earlier this year for cleanup. It will be lawn cutter, assistant to lawn cutter, taking care of flowers, general labor like painting and miscellaneous. Then I can do the hours per each position and I am in the process of working out all the schedules. This way the applicants know what they are applying for. I am hoping to get the ad posted in mid March in the Peshtigo Times, at the School and on Facebook".

A motion was then made to approve Tonn to go forward with advertising for seasonal part-time positions and provide a list to the committee of the positions that are available.

Also discussed was an option to possibly allow vacation carry over from 2021 to the 2022 year. Deputy City Clerk/ Treasurer Tracy Jandt spoke to the committee asking to carryover approximately five hours of vacation that she wasn't able to take during the Holiday season due to circumstances of other employees needing time off and she was denied the time off.

Alderperson Sievert stated, "We have to start being consistent, Clerk Tammy Kasal has several days left also and she won't be able to carryover her hours either. Several other employees had vacation hours as well.  It was agreed upon at a prior meeting that there would be no carryover. Starting in December of 2022, employees will have the option of the department manager to approve carryover vacation but this year we have to stay consistent with what we agreed upon of no carryover. Starting in December of 2022, employees will have the option of the department manager to approve carryover vacation into the 2023 year, but this year we have to stay consistent with what we agreed upon, of no carryover vacation for 2021 into the 2022 year for any employees".

Jandt added, "I asked for several Fridays off and got denied because Tammy may have been taking that day off as well or there were other conflicts and couldn't take the time off. There were several times I asked in advance on different occasions and was denied my requests, that is why I have extra unused hours. I had asked several times in advance and got denied because supposedly someone else was taking off". If I ask for days off and I am denied, that's not taken into consideration at all? There were some conflicts where I wanted to take off and I could not because the office has to be covered. Clerk Tammy Kasal replied, "The one you requested was last minute". Jandt replied to Kasal stating, "Previous to that I did ask off well in advance and you said no that you were taking off". Kasal replied, "I don't remember those, I remember the last minute ones and Becky did work for you during deer season".

Alderperson Brigitte Schmidt replied, "If this is approved then others will be requesting for their remaining vacation time to be carried over also. It is hard to do a case by case, that is where favoritism comes into play. There may be someone scared to ask so they won't come forward and they don't get the carryover. If we look at this one, we have to be fair and look at all that have leftover days and not just one employee. If we were to approve this one request, then, I would like to see it put on a future agenda for discussion just to be fair to others". Sievert added, "It is important to be consistent and we cant approve one and then others may not be approved. We have to stick with the rules we made in the October meeting". It was then denied to allow the carryover vacation for Jandt.

With Public Works Director George Cowell's upcoming retirement, Mayor Cathi Malke announced a plan for the interim until a replacement is found for Cowell.

Malke said, "I sat down with Cowell and discussed who would fill in and Jeff Thompson would be head of the Water Department as he is doing now, Mark Madden would be head of streets, Jason Stibbe would still be head mechanic along with maintaining all of Cowells emails and directing those emails of where they need to be directed to and Rich Sparks would head up the Waste Water Treatment Plant. Their duties will be compounded with Cowell being gone, but all of these employees take their job very seriously".

When prior Director of Public Works Steve Cota retired, the City did a very similar interim plan. Our guys have been here for 30 plus years, they know their jobs and they do them well. I think they should be compensated and in talking with Tammy we discussed an increase of $2.00 per hour but I want to know the committees thoughts on this".

Malke added that she asked Cowell several weeks ago to provide a list of any remaining projects, dates and deadlines, therefore, we need to start maintaining emails.

Questions were asked about if there was going to cause overtime with the extra duties taken on. Malke replied, "I don't foresee a lot of overtime at all. They know what to do and what contractors to call. For instance if there is a water main break, whether it is day or night time they are going to commit to work, that is the type of guys they are. I don't think we should restrict them to 40 hours. When they get called in on off hours it is normally for an emergency". Sievert confirmed that is the way it usually worked before as well. Malke added, "We are in good hands with this crew. They take their jobs very seriously and I think we should show our appreciation and compensate them for it".

Alderman John Berendt asked if we give them an increase in pay, can we lower it later? Tonn asked if it is possible to put a separate individual line item listing on their payroll stub listing the extra $2.00 per hour for the 40 hours, the same way that bonuses are listed along with agreeing to overtime as needed at the increased wage for the interim period. The committee agreed that it was a good idea to have a second line item for the pay increase amount.

It was then approved and recommended to Council to allow the extra $2.00 per hour for the interim until a new director is hired to replace Cowell and once a replacement is hired the $2.00 extra would then be eliminated and the wage would go back to their normal rate. Malke added that Tom Gryzwa, Fred Meintz and Dan Seymour are working on an ad to put in the Peshtigo Times and other media options for the Director of Public Works.

The meeting then convened into closed session for consideration of part-time patrolman candidates for the Police Department. There are two full time patrolman possibly leaving,

After reconvening, the committee discussed the hiring plan for replacing the two full-time patrolmen that are leaving. One of the officers final date is Feb. 17 and the other officer has a conditional offering and just needs to pass the background check, screening and medical screening. They will both be missed.

Sievert asked,"In regards to the part-time patrolmen that were interviewed over the phone, will they be hired, contingent on their background check? We should also advertise for full time and part time. Chief Fred Popp asked if they should advertise through Wilenet or if they should advertise locally as well. Wilenet is an online site that is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Justice and Standards Bureau that provides information regarding law enforcement employment, standards and training to the general public.

Sievert added, "I think we should also advertise in the Peshtigo Times as well because someone may not be actively looking or not looking on line and may spark their interest to make a change and apply. It should be advertised both online and in the paper".

The committee then made a motion and approved Chief Popp to advertise online and in the Peshtigo Times for full time and part-time patrolmen.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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