Written by Jerry Engler Wednesday, 09 January 2008 19:55
Jami Williams, Marion economic development director, resigned her position at the Dec. 31 City Council meeting.
The council voted 4-1 to decline her resignation, but Williams will proceed with her plan to step down from her position.
Councilor Bill Holdeman cast the vote to accept her resignation, but said later he “had nothing against her.”
Holdeman said he understood the basis for the resignation was that Williams didn’t receive the highest 2.6 percent pay increase based on evaluation for city employees.
Holdeman said he was against salaried employees getting a pay raise based on something he felt was intended for hourly employees.
“They shouldn’t get the same percentage raise,” he said.
Holdeman said he also felt Williams began her employment untrained, and that the city had provided for much of her training.
“Because of that schooling, I feel she owes more respect and loyalty to the city of Marion than this,” Holdeman said.
Williams, contacted after the meeting, said she would still resign even if the council offers her a raise.
“It will be too little too late,” she said.
She said she has agreed “to stay until the city finds a replacement or I find another job, whichever comes first.”
Williams said she wants to leave the job “because two members of the council never stop questioning my ability to hold the job, my honesty and my integrity.”
She said those two members are Holdeman and Mayor Mary Olson.
Olson, who voted to refuse Williams’ resignation, said she did so because a contract that was supposed to be available offering Williams a 4 percent pay raise after her evaluation wasn’t complete.
She said she wouldn’t accept the resignation until after the council has a chance to show the revised contract to Williams.
In other reports at the meeting, Fire Chief Mike Regnier told the council that his department made 60 runs in 2007, 12 of them in December.
The council approved tentative preparations for a proposal by Jason Harris that a group of 15 to 20 persons be allowed to rent city property by the city lagoons for remote miniature vehicle racing.
Harris said the noise from a miniature vehicle would sound like a “glorified weed eater” with the noise far enough from homes not to bother anyone. Lights would be focused on a track, and not visible from far away, he said.
He estimated that as many as 50 contestants could be involved at a time, bringing thousands of dollars into Marion that might otherwise go to cities like Wichita.
He guessed that no events would go past 11:30 p.m.
Olson said a specific contract with charges will have to be completed by the group.
The council approved the appointment of Jackie Crofoot to the Marion County Economic Development Council with a proposal by Olson that she also serve on the city’s development council.
Margaret Wilson offered the city electrical crew special thanks for working to restore power during the ice storm at “personal peril.”
“I think they handled everything right this time,” Holdeman added.