The Weekly Informer (5/15/16)
On Monday, May 9th, 2016, at 5:30pm, the following transpired:
Finance (Members present: Marmie, Cost, Fraizer [briefly replaced by Rath, as he was running late], Floyd, and Bubb):
Resolution No. 16-46: with the emergency clause, allowing Auditor Johnson to pay the tax department’s bills.
Tax Administrator Barb Jones reported that this was merely to pay the software provider. Passed unanimously without controversy.
Resolution No. 16-47: with the emergency clause, allowing Auditor Johnson to pay the Police Division’s “bills”.
Police Chief Connell reported that this was a request to pay for records-keeping software as well as software for County dispatching. He then noted that the normal procedure involves a reoccurring subscription, but that this is new. Passed unanimously without controversy.
Resolution No. 16-48: spending money.
$500 for a deductible in damage claims on a command vehicle that was recently involved in an accident. Passed unanimously without controversy.
Resolution no. 16-49: allocating revenue collected from the hotel lodging excise tax (the “bed tax”).
Development Director Mark Mauter mentioned that the following would receive funding from this source: For the next four years = White’s Field, NASA Soccer, Canal Market, Reese Ice Arena, and – for the next two years - Newark Catholic High School. Some discussion occurred pertaining to how a number of these organization will be using the funds requested, and it was explained that Newark Catholic has a different timeline for the money since their need is “more immediate” – primarily with respect to needed upgrades in their sporting facilities - than the others. Ultimately, it passed unanimously without any real controversy.
Capital Improvements (*):
Personnel (Members present: Bubb, Rolletta, Marmie, Hall, and Johnson):
Ordinance No. 16-13: making changes to the Safety Department’s (specifically in the Police Division) “position classification, pay range and department authorization tables” in replacing one police officer position with an Information Technology Specialist.
I) Since there – as of right now, the moment of this update – are no minutes yet published on the city’s website for the committee at issue, the following is based on the notes I took at the meeting: Prior to the meeting, Mr. Blake and Mr. Rolletta expressed their joint concern for the language in this legislation which proposes abolishing one police officer position. During the committee meeting, Chief Connell explained that one officer has already been fulfilling the duties of an I.T. specialist for the better part of two decades – with (and I’m sort of paraphrasing here) “60 hours worth of work in 40 hours a week” -, and that he hadn’t worked a street during that timeframe. Safety Director Spurgeon wants to clarify the duties of an I.T. specialist and distinguish them via a job description from those duties expected of all other officers. There was a lengthy discussion about the proposal. A couple quick highlights: Rath briefly got a little testy with the Police Chief in pressing him for reasons as to why the officer position has to be abolished, as he was wanting to know if the new position could be created with the funds already made available by Council before while waiting to fill officer vacancies until they could be funded. Rolletta was concerned about reducing the number of safety forces on the streets, asked for some specifics, and ultimately expressed his willingness to pass this on to full council where he ultimately plans to offer an amendment to strike the language which abolishes an officer position. In the end, the measure passed unanimously.
No business. Result: *
Ways and Means:
No business. Result: *
A few quick points here: only three private citizens attended, all of whom (myself included) were there in part to report to the public about what council was up to. The meeting adjourned at 5:55pm, a mere 25 minutes after it was started. It was also revealed, thanks to Mr. Rolletta’s questioning, that the city has dropped from having 81 officers on hand a few years ago to just 68 now, thanks to a lack of funding.
Additionally, I have a few questions to ponder: number one, since he is (or recently was) technically part of Newark Catholic’s coaching staff, shouldn’t Mr. Marmie have abstained from the vote in his committee or even when the measure comes up before the full council which could well provide extra funding for Newark Catholic from the bed tax funds? Also, on the matter that went before the personnel committee, could it not be argued that the city of Newark owes the now-retired officer some back-pay for the valuable I.T. services he provided for so long to the police division? Once the position to replace his work is officially created, complete with its specifics on compensation, I would certainly say that the man deserves to be paid the full worth of his work in full.
What to expect at the next Council Meeting at 7pm:
1) Appointments: None.
2) Public Hearings: None.
Any Resolutions or Ordinances on the First Reading – except those brought forward using Rule 11 – were already covered at the recent committee meeting as seen above.
3) Ordinances on the Second Reading:
4) Resolutions on the Second Reading:
a. Resolution No. 16-39: Allowing Mayor Hall to apply for the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant from the Ohio Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice Services.
b. Resolution No. 16-40: spending money.
* $2,422 for Vehicle Maintenance. Director Spurgeon reported that the Command vehicle for “Battalion 1” had an accident recently. The insurance company paid the city – not the Service Provider -, it was financed by the Fire Department, and this is a request to replace funds.
* $3,098.07 for Vehicle Maintenance. Fire Department sold some old supplies and would like to put the fund in their maintenance account.
c. Resolution No. 16-43: spending money.
* $16,000 for Hardware/Software to upgrade city servers for the first time in 12 years.
* $80,000 for paving and bridges.
See you all next week. Thanks for reading.