MEDI concerned about eco-devo vacancy

The Marion City Council learned that Marion Economic Development Inc. expressed concerns to City Administrator Doug Kjellin about the economic development position still being vacant at their meeting Feb. 7.

At a recent MEDI?board meeting, Kjellin said the group believed more strides needed to be made in hiring someone to work on the industrial park, business park, closing of Duckwall?s and other projects.

?MEDI does not think these things are being dealt with or getting the attention they deserve,? he said.

MEDI members said the city is losing ground the longer the position remains unfilled.

Councilor Chris Meierhoff said someone needs to be in place and the council needs to aid Kjellin by following through on this.

Councilor Steve Smith, agreed with Meierhoff saying the process of finding someone takes time.

Smith said the position should be full-time, but not all that time devoted to economic development.

?There are opportunities out there (for project grants),? Kjellin said, ?and the city will suffer without someone.?

Smith also suggested that members of MEDI come to the council rather than to Kjellin.

Council members also agreed to talk more about the economic development position at their meeting Feb. 21.

Evaluations

Kjellin asked the council to review changes in the employee manual dealing with annual evaluations.

?In the city personnel policies,? he said, ?it states that employees will receive an evaluation every year.?

The first change he suggested would be to have evaluations coincide with the employee?s employment anniversary rather than at the first of every year.

?Having all evaluations required at the first of each year is difficult to complete in a correct and timely manner.?

The second change would leave the responsibility of completing evaluations dependent on budged raises or cost of living increases in any given budget year.

?This change would allow for the flexibility in completing (or not completing) evaluations,? he said. ?In prior years, the evaluations were a tool to be used in determining salary increases.?

The performance evaluation is a ?critical tool,? he said, in running city government, but this change would permit flexibility for completing the evaluations and would remove one possible deficiency from the auditor?s review.

Kjellin also said some thought should be given in the performance evaluations he does for department heads, the police chief, treasurer and clerk.

?I question how well I can complete these after being in this position for only one month,? he said.

The council approved the three changes be put in place before the auditors arrive in April.

In other business, the council:

? approved the reappointment of Margo Yates to the Board of Zoning Appeals for a three-year term.

? appointed Kjellin as the signature authorization for American Funds 457 Plan, a group of funds covering investments to include money markets and others.

? received a memorandum regarding a public hearing by the Board of Zoning Appeals at 2 p.m. Feb. 24. The meeting concerns the non-conforming use on 316 Grant (Brewer property). The procedure is open to the public, but its intent is to hear the concerns of residents within a 200-foot radius and/or from the appellant.

? learned an organizational meeting of the BZA will be held at 1 p.m. Feb. 24.

? directed Kjellin to let bids for clearing trees at the city levy. The area is across the bridge where the railroad tracks go underneath U.S. Highway 56.

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