The Hillsboro City Council approved arrangements at its Feb. 6 meeting to hire a part-time interim city administrator while Larry Paine recuperates from surgery.
In late January, Paine was hospitalized in Topeka after collapsing on the steps of the Capitol, where he and Mayor Lou Thurston were to participate in a municipal meeting.
Thurston reported to the council that Paine underwent surgery Feb. 6 at a Topeka hospital.
“The word we have is that the surgery was successful, and so we’re anticipating him coming out of that this afternoon,” he said.
The mayor did not speculate on how long Paine’s medical leave will be.
To assist the city in Paine’s absence, the council approved the hiring of Don Osenbaugh, who lives in Derby and has significant experience in city management and administration.
“He is willing to give us, give or take, 15 hours a week and would come to Hillsboro one day a week,” Thurston said. “He would require a $50 per-hour rate and would bill us as a contractor or consultant.”
Rather than keeping track of mileage from his home in Derby, the $50-per-hour rate will begin when Osenbaugh leaves his home and will end when he arrives at his home.
City Attorney Joshua Boehm said Osenbaugh would perform “all of the duties of city administrator as if he was Larry.”
“We would anticipate him being able to help us carry through certain projects that Larry was working on—certainly the hospital sale and building split with Salem Home project,” Boehm added. “And to work on the water project and the trail project—some of those projects that are ongoing.”
Boehm added that Osenbaugh would work from his home on days he is not in Hillsboro.
Osenbaugh has worked in the areas of municipal consulting and city manager recruitment since 2013.
Since 2001, he has been the pool administrator for Kansas Municipal Insurance Trust, a consultant with Ransom CityCode Financial since 2013, and has been director of finance and field services for the League of Kansas Municipalities since 2001.
Prior to his consulting work, Osenbaugh served for four years as director of finances for the city of Derby; prior to that he was city administrator for Halstead from 1997 to 2001.
Thurston reported another significant transition occurring in the city office with the use of a new electronic time-keeping program called Time in Attendance.
Office staff member Glenda Stoppel has been leading the transition and City Clerk Jan Meisinger also has had training about the program, Thurston said.
Prior to the change, the city staff had been using handwritten time cards. Supervisors would then sign off on each time card, then give them to Stoppel to manually input the data.
“It can take many, many hours per pay period to enter it into the system,” Thurston said.
With the new program, each city employee would clock in for work at the computer at their work station, then clock out at the same location.
“I know it’s going to be a change for a lot of the employees in the way they currently do things,” Thurston said. “Some things that we realize may be inconvenient—but not a hardship—will save the city a lot of time and money and provide a lot more accurate data into our payroll system.
“We’re looking forward to getting the benefits of automating that process.”
In other business, the council:
◼ met in executive session for 30 minutes for attorney-client privilege regarding Title 2 and the division of real estate. No decision was made when the public session resumed.
◼ agreed to continue for a third time the public hearing regarding mandated repairs at 311 Eisenhower after a fire. The hearing will resume at 4 p.m. March 16.
Susan Robson, the attorney presenting homeowner Warren Deckert, said the extra time was needed because the owner wanted to use oil-based paint, which requires an outdoor temperature of at least 45 degrees.
Ben Steketee, the city’s code-enforcement officer, said the exterior painting and possibly a basement window are the only repair requirements remaining.
◼ approved the appointment of Trevor Yost as a firefighter for the local department. Chief Steketee said Yost had four years of firefighting experience while living in Hesston and has completed the Firefighter 1 and 2 programs since moving to Hillsboro.
◼ approved a correction to the skid loader purchase at the previous meeting. The correct price required an additional $650 for the city to acquire a one-year newer machine.
◼ appointed Jared Jost as Hillsboro’s second board representative for the Marion County Community Economic Development Corp. Clint Seibel was previously appointed as a Hillsboro board member by the city council.