Fredonia’s board of directors appears poised to add a full-time employee to the Department of Public Works, despite objections from Mayor Douglas Essek and Administrator James Lynden.
“Scott (Marsh, Director of DPW) said that with some of the projects that were being done with DPW, additional staff would help increase the capacity to redo them,” Administrator EvaDawn Bashaw said at an administrators workshop this week. “We went out a lot for some of the projects we were doing internally.”
Bashaw said administrators found good candidates during an interview for a vacant blue-collar job at DPW a week before. She said Treasurer Erlyssa LeBeau and Marsh were asked to calculate a few numbers to see if a full-time position could be funded, if it replaced a part-time niche. They said it was possible.
“May I ask why can’t this wait on budget?” “ said Essek. Bashaw and Trustee Roger Britz cited the upcoming snow season and the desire to avoid overtime, the fact that funding is available and the quality of applicants.
Essek noted that full-time employees have increasing wages and benefits, unlike part-time employees. “Doing this in the middle of the year gives me some concern” Essek said, and Lynden immediately agreed.
“We interviewed some good candidates, there are a few good ones. We have advertised part-time positions and we have no one. There’s no one interested in working (part-time), really, “ said Marsh.
However, one candidate in particular, who stood out for him, was willing to work full time. Marsh said he wanted to hire him while he was available. No one named this candidate at Monday’s meeting.
LeBeau said the full-time would earn $ 15,000 more than the part-time, but the money is already in the DPW’s budget.
Lynden said the DPW was supposed to use that money for other things, and if it didn’t, it should be saved to meet the extra year-end costs. “If it’s $ 15,000 here, $ 15,000 there, I want to save it, because otherwise you’re going to be at the end of the year and you’re going to be in trouble, and I’ve been saying it all along.” , he said.
“It is possible to interview again some of these candidates who would fit really well in our department” Britz said. “They have the qualifications, and it’s rare. We just want to be able to launch it and maybe do some creative funding to find a way to get that extra help that’s qualified, that would be a good fit for our department.
Essek reiterated that after factoring in things like cost of living increases and increases, it would cost over $ 15,000. He said, “I realize that the board controls the finances, but the public ultimately has to foot the bill – when you have a big deficit, what do you do now? Are you firing people if you can’t afford it next year or the year after? I do not know. Our budgets are not improving, they are getting tighter and tighter.
“We have spent a lot of time in recent months talking about the importance for us of listening to our department heads, because they are the experts in their department” said Trustee Scott Johnston. “I think if our manager says he needs a guy, and he has a guy, I would support that.”
A little later in the debate, Essek commented, “If all that money is there, then I don’t know why this board cut the budget like it did back then.”
“We’re not talking about a lot of money … we try to work together as a team here” Britz said.
“I think questioning is part of a team”, Essek responded. “I want to work as a team. To question something does not mean that I am not a team player.
Bashaw and Britz said they would work out a resolution for an upcoming meeting to add the new post. “If we can save money by not negotiating other jobs and Scott thinks we can tighten our belts a bit, keep some things in-house… there is an opportunity” Britz said.