|Complaint lodged over city workers getting early holiday|
|Written by Chris Case|
|Wednesday, 20 June 2012 16:42|
Questions have been raised about city employees being released from their duties early for Memorial Day weekend, but the mayor says he gave the okay and that there’s no controversy there.
Nancy Montgomery, who lost her bid to unseat Mayor Ray Mortimeyer in the April municipal elections, addressed the city council on Tuesday, June 5 about the issue. “What time did the city shut down on the Friday before Memorial Day?” she asked. Montgomery said she called city hall at 1 p.m. that afternoon and no one answered the phone.
“I gave them the permission to shut down (city hall) whenever they did,” replied Mayor Mortimeyer.
Montgomery handed out to council members a document that detailed the cost in employee salaries that she felt was wasted by allowing workers to go home early that afternoon for the long holiday weekend. According to her estimate, by sending 29 employees home four hours early, the city paid out $5,428 in salaries with no return in labor.
Aldermen heard her complaint but did not seem concerned by it. Alderman Henry Copling pointed out that the decision was approved by the council.
“We approved that because a lot of people travel (on Memorial Day) and have loved ones elsewhere,” said Alderman Kevin Copling. “With traffic like it is and for those traveling to St. Louis and other places, I am okay with the decision.”
The mayor indicated he would not debate the issue with Montgomery at the meeting. “I’m not going to get caught in an argument with you about this,” said Mortimeyer, “because the mayor has the power to run city hall as he sees fit. There’s nothing more to say.”
In other business conducted at the June 5 meeting of the Cuba City Council:
• The council approved payment of a bill totaling $4,962.54 to Missouri Engineering for water pretreatment services. The board also accepted the low bid of $10,500 from Thomasson for 30 new 40-foot utility poles for the Electric Department.
• Emergency Management Director Rodney Neff stated he had been in contact with SEMA for preparation of a city emergency plan similar to what the county has put into place. Development of the plan is ongoing.
• Nancy Montgomery inquired about the storm sirens and how many of them work. Neff stated testing was conducted and only one did not sound. Typically, three or four are nonfunctioning. According to Mayor Mortimeyer, “We are starting to replace the system in the new budget. Instead of having ten (sirens), there will be three and we will be replacing them in the new budget. They overlap each other and cost about $22,000 each.” The new sirens will be radio controlled and have a two-year warranty on mechanical parts.
• Montgomery asked about the picnic tables at Tangle Creek Park, where there is only one table at each pavilion. She stated six additional tables need to be purchased for the park pavilions. Lounge chairs are needed for the pool and she stated $245 was set aside through a Walmart grant to purchase them.
• Montgomery, who serves on the Park Board, also wanted to know why vending machines were removed from the city pool and the pool is going back to having its own concessions area. Alderman Kevin Copling said the decision was made by the council at a special meeting because the vending machines were too expensive. “For two kids, it would cost them about $5 to eat and drink something,” he said. “Now, it will cost them about $2. I feel that a child needs to be able to eat something and drink something. It’s not for profit anyway. It’s a fifty cent menu.” Montgomery said the Park Board was against having vending machines installed in the first place, but the council made that decision on its own and now has reversed course. “We want more nutritional food in there than what is available, but you guys went ahead and decided to put in the vending machines,” she said. “We brought this idea to you and you shot it down.” She expressed her concerns that the Park Board was not part of the council’s decision-making process.
• The council approved Bill No. 1635 to authorize a contract with Utility Service Co., Inc. for maintenance work on a city water tower, the oldest tower in service. First and second readings were approved of the bill.
• The Street Committee recommended removing a stop sign at the intersection of Fleenor and Grand streets. The decision was reached in consultation with Dennis Chandler, the Street Department supervisor. The council approved taking down the stop signs and further discussed lowering the speed limit there from 35 to 25 miles per hour. The speed limit changes will be discussed in committee.
• Bob Hutson, deputy director for the Crawford County Emergency Management, presented a plaque to Les Murdock for his 30 years of service to the city in emergency preparedness. Murdock was not present to receive his award for distinguished service.
• Alderman Kevin Copling stated concerns on Fleenor Road where a new pipe was installed. The streets are to be repaired and the gravel replaced there.
• Steve Campbell approached the council on a plan to install two fans in the hog barn. Two fans are to be installed, as well as a metal door on the north end of the barn. Funds are through the 4H clubs, raised at their golf tournament. The Fair Board also wants to put a $1,500 lean-to on the sheep barn to be used for poultry and rabbits. It will be paid for by the Fair Board, and the city approved construction. There are some windows in the barn to be replaced with screen ones that provide better ventilation. That, too, was approved by the board.