Holdeman request fails for direct reporting to mayor

Marion City Council member Bill Holdeman made a motion Monday night as the meeting seemed to be drawing to a close that City Attorney Dan Baldwin be asked to write a resolution for consideration that would require all appointed city employees to report directly to the mayor.

The council had closed a 30-minute executive session for personnel with Police Chief Josh Whitwell, and then followed with department head reports before Holdeman made the motion.

Neither Mayor Mary Olson nor councilors Jerry Kline or Stacey Collett seconded to Holdeman?s motion. Councilor Gene Winkler was absent.

Olson told Holdeman she really didn?t understand his motion, and asked him for clarification.

Holdeman said he has been hearing from police officers and other city employees that they are intimidated when making requests of City Administrator David Mayfield, and afraid of losing their jobs.

Olson asked Holdeman if he meant something similar to what had been determined with Whitwell for his reporting to her in executive session. She also asked Holdeman if he would like to go back into executive session to clarify what he meant.

Holdeman replied his motion was already dead for lack of a second.

Both Olson and Mayfield said they would like to be in executive session with Holdeman to discuss the motion.

Olson asked Clerk Angela Lange if she felt intimidated talking to Mayfield, Lange replied no, that talking to him is just part of her daily routine.

A further 10-minute executive session was called with the council, Mayfield and Lange participating.

Earlier in the meeting, the council approved a financing bid of 4.35 percent from Tampa State Bank over a competitive bid of 5.41 percent from Central National Bank for a $229,200 building to built in the industrial park, and leased to Cardie Oil Co. for tire sales and repair.

The Council vote was 3-1, Holdeman against because he said the bids should have been sealed.

In presenting the bid, Mayfield said the term with Cardie would be for five years with a balloon payments.

Construction by Hett Construction Co. was approved 4-0.

In public forum, Economic Development Director Jamie Williams replied to questions from businessman D.L. Markley that one free lot from the industrial park had been given to Cardie, and that the company planned to employ four people.

Markley said Cardie shouldn?t have qualified for the industrial park, and that other businesses in the retail park across U.S. Highway 56 would have liked to be in the southern park.

He questioned whether Cardie should have been helped to the extent it was when other tire dealers in town, including himself, had received no help.

In reply to other questions from Markley, Mayfield said that he and Public Works Director Harvey Sanders had determined from meetings with Westar Electric that the company will be seeking increased electrical rates based on 15 percent increase from transmission lines and 50 percent increase from distribution lines.

In a related discussion, Olson told Utility Clerk Rebecca Makovec to write a proposal for dropping the customer utility deposit of $150 in favor of a non-refundable fee.

Makovec said deposits don?t work any better than fees to ensure payment, and require more bookkeeping if customers pay in a timely matter.

Street Superintendent Marty Frederickson?s proposal, that a change order with street surfacing company APAC Kansas be granted for $38,979 to complete 11 more blocks of streets, received council approval 4-0.

Fredrickson said APAC has already sealed 138 blocks in town with seven blocks remaining on its current contract. The timeliness of APAC?s work is guaranteed by the company not being paid until it is completed, he said.

Jan Nolde, representing the city auditing firm of Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk and Loyd, reported the city has complied with correction of all discrepancies filed in other years except segregation of duties.

The latter fulfillment is impossible, she said, because the city work force is too small for duties not to overlap. Such segregation is required, she said, to avoid employees being the end responsible worker for checking their own work.

Margo Yates reported for the Marion Recreation Commission that 22 baseball and softball teams participated at Marion this year. She said later seasonal events could include football, basketball and volleyball leagues as well as swing dance lessons.

Fredrickson confirmed that his crew will do dirt work at the ball diamonds in August, and seed grass there in September.

Yates reported for Chamber of Commerce tourism that a big rhino has been installed in the park.

Council members appeared to agree with a recommendation from Mayfield that the city neighborhood revitalization project, which gives 95 percent 10-year tax abatements for new construction in the Main Street corridor, should be dropped in favor of the county revitalization project for the entire city, which gives sliding scale abatement over 10 years.

They asked for Baldwin to write a resolution for consideration at the next meeting.

The council approved the June utility billing tie out, renewal of liquor license for D&J Liquor Store, a $100,000 transfer from the general fund of sales tax money to the capital improvement fund, $76,305 from the same fund to the bond and interest fund.

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