Meeting Minutes –April 12, 2017
The Churubusco Town Council met on April 12, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. in the Town Hall. Members present were President Mark Pepple, Council Member Frank Kessler, and Clerk-Treasurer Madalyn Sade-Bartl. Also in attendance were Wastewater Superintendent, Bob Gray and Town Marshal, Mike Engle.
President Mark Pepple called the meeting to order, welcomed visitors and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Roll was called by the Clerk. Bruce Johnson was absent.
Ms. Bartl went over some of the changes made to the Employee Manual including mileage reimbursement, police clothing allowance, and cell phone reimbursement. The first subject broached was the cost of mileage paid to employees who do not have access to employer owned vehicles. Mr. Kessler suggested instead of increasing the reimbursement to match federal rates, the Town should instead use a vehicle that is being retired to be used for employee purposes. President Pepple agreed that would be the cheapest option. However, the next vehicle to be retired was the spare police car and it would probably not be retired until May 2018. The Council agreed to consider a year lease to cover that gap and decide after. The mileage reimbursement would stay at the state rate.
Cell phone stipends were the next topic discussed and President Pepple felt while cell phones were an integral part of one’s job, the Town should not be responsible for an employee’s entire cell phone bill, which was being done with those receiving $100 stipends. Marshal Engle and Ms. Bartl suggested cutting the difference and making the stipend $75 for all full-time employees as half the employees were only receiving $50, yet using their phones as much, if not more, than those receiving $100. Pepple and Kessler agreed with the change. Neither had an issue with bumping the reimbursement for new phone purchases to $150 every two years.
Ms. Bartl presented the Council a spreadsheet with uniform costs of police uniforms and explained the change to allow newly hired officers a $1000 allowance during the first year of service was brought up by Marshal Engle based upon how much a new employee spends on their uniforms. President Pepple suggested that instead of issuing a flat $1000 to new hires to instead create a standard list for new officers and buy the things on the list. There would be a list for newly hired full-time and part-time officers. That way, with increased costs or special needs, an officer would still have the ability to buy what he needs to perform the job. Marshal Engle agreed with that change. Mr. Kessler felt changing the part-time stipend was fine, but hesitated to increase the full-time stipend. Marshal Engle stated he had thought about it and agreed with Kessler. He stated if there was a need for a guy to go over his allowance, he would make it work.
Mr. Kessler asked Ms. Bartl why training request approvals were changed from being approved by the entire Council to only the Council President. President Pepple stated he had suggested the request be made so trainings were approved prior to the training taking place. Kessler stated he was ok with the change; he was just wondering what prompted it.
Mr. Kessler asked about the legality of changing the allowance for banked comp time as he was sure state statute dictated the allowance. Ms. Bartl stated she checked and the statute states the maximum that can be allowed, but not the minimum.
Mr. Pepple brought up changing the way time off was given and accrued. He felt like it would be better for the Town to change sick time, vacation time, and personal time to general paid time off. Ms. Bartl had alerted him that some employees had over 500 hours to use annually, but were only allowed to roll over 240 of those hours. Mr. Kessler was fearful of switching to that option as employees would hold PTO until the end of the year for fear of getting sick. Further discussion was made about the change and it was decided to research what the policy would look like before changing it in the proposed handbook.
Marshal Engle wished to drop the performance evaluation policy as he did not feel it was beneficial. Ms. Bartl stated they began doing reviews because department heads were not having conversations with the employees and documenting progress regularly, which caused issues when disciplinary problems arose. President Pepple agreed with Engle that they were worthless if they were not tied to anything, like raises.
After reviewing the policy manual, Marshal Engle stated he was seeking additional part-time help as Gary Archbold was unable to work as much because of his full-time position in Columbia City. The Council stated Engle could post the position so he could hire someone prior to the beginning of summer.
Ms. Bartl stated Jeremy was also seeking summer help for mowing and landscaping. The Council agreed to post that position, too.
Having no other business and after all proper papers were signed, President Pepple adjourned the regular meeting.
Council President, Mark Pepple
Council Member, Bruce Johnson
Council Member, Frank Kessler
Madalyn Sade-Bartl, Clerk-Treasurer