Written by Jerry Engler Wednesday, 16 January 2008 16:06
Todd Heitschmidt brought the idea of forming a Marion economic development corporation formed from several groups before the Marion City Council meeting Monday, but that didn’t stop the open meeting from ending with a sharp exchange between the city’s outgoing economic development director and a council member.
Heitschmidt said members of the new economic group, varying from 10 or 12 to around 24 in number, want to take over the job of recruiting and directing the city’s economic development director to avoid the “politics” that led to recent resignation of Jami Williams’ resignation from the role, and her exchange with Councilor Bill Holdeman.
Heitschmidt said the group would provide the kind of guidance the ecnomic director needs with the city payroll for reimbursement, but would avoid direct oversight by individual council members. He said if he understood the structure correctly, it might be similar to what Hillsboro does, and that system works well.
A work session for the city council with members of the economic group to discuss how an economic development structure would work was scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25.
The open meeting was followed by a 30-minute executive session for personnel. Councilor Gene Winkler then moved that a temporary contract be offered to Williams. Councilor Stacey Collett seconded the motion.
Winkler, Collett and Councilman Jerry Kline voted in favor of it, with Mayor Mary Olson and Holdeman against it.
Earlier in the session, Williams concluded a department head report by telling about the opening of a quilting business and sales tax increases.
When she asked if there were questions, Holdeman asked why she cited reasons other than money in a newspaper interview concerning her resignation as economic director.
Holdeman said not getting a raise was her reason for leaving.
“You know money was the bottom line,” he said.
Replied Williams, “Bill, you know you can’t talk about what went on in executive session. You know I told you I wouldn’t stay on for even a $10,000 raise. I can talk about that outside of executive session, but you can’t. Isn’t that right, Dan (Baldwin, city attorney)?”
Baldwin replied that neither party should be talking about what went on in executive session.
Williams said last week she was quitting because her honesty and skills were contantly being called into question by Holdeman and Olson.
Kline and Williams spoke in favor of Building Inspector Marty Fredrickson allowing garage structures extending in size from the currently approved 800 square feet to 1,200 feet, and even more if a variance can be granted because of lot space and location.
The council approved payment to Hett Construction on additional work completed to date for the Cardie Oil building in Batt Industrial Park for $21,694.
Ralph Kreutziger of Hett Construction said an inspection team from the company, Cardie Oil and the city had found the building satisfactorily complete except for sidewalks in an inspection Jan. 7.
Kreutziger said the Arleigh’s Body Shop building is scheduled for delivery at the industrial park Feb. 4. Hett Construction is starting concrete work on the project, he said.
Action on accepting a contract that starts out paying the city $500 a month for Crossroads Wireless equipment located on city water towers was delayed for investigation after Winkler questioned the reliability of the company’s system in serving customers.
The council approved pay raises decided upon for city employees 4-1, Holdeman against, despite Holdeman’s protest that he wanted separate increase criteria for hourly and salaried employees.
They approved a policy manual change to pay resigning employees up to 260 hours of sick time on 480 hours accumulated.
Margo Yates of the Recreation Commission was directed to gather information for installation of bathrooms at the baseball complex.
A juke box license was approved for Pizza Hut.
The fourth quarter financial statement, the December financial statement, and the December investment and collateral reports were approved.
Gordon Pendergraft and J.B. Miesse were nominated for appointment to the Planning Commission with council selecting Miesse 5-0.
The council approved purchase of a $12,539 mower and equipment from John Deere for $5,162 cash and the balance trade-in.