Williamstown City Council tables pay increase vote

WILLIAMSTOWN -City council Tuesday voted to table the vote to approve pay raises for city employees pending recommendations from city department heads.

Prior to the decision, Councilman Marty Seufer requested an executive session to discuss raises of certain individuals on the recommendation of City Attorney Blaine Myers.

“I tried to stagger the raises compared to how long the (policemen) have been here and gave our only officer a larger amount,” said Seufer, who had asked to look over the pay raise plan with Police Chief B.D. Adkins and Councilman Gene Duncan during the June 18 council meeting.

Councilwoman Barbara Lewis abstained from the 16-minute executive session because she is an employee of the city as the secretary for Adkins and Mayor Jean Ford as well as police dispatcher.

The proposed plan included a 5 percent increase for all city employees with an additional $2 on the hour raise for police officers.

Along with the longevity rate for police officers, Seufer also recommended the city raise the base starting salary for new officers to $30,000.

“We are still lower than other communities in the area but it makes us more competitive when it comes to hiring,” he said.

How the city paid its police department was an issue that appeared to bother city officials during the June 18 meeting. Seufer said he had “fundamental problems” with how officers were compensated. Adkins told council the pay rate for officers who had been with the city for years was not fair.

By giving officers more money a year here, it gives them an incentive to stay with the department, Adkins said.

The rate decided on during the executive session was chosen during discussions among Seufer, Duncan and Adkins.

Other city employees will receive a raise of 50 cents an hour. An exception will be the city’s backhoe operator who will receive 75 cents per hour because of his expertise, said Seufer.

The delay on council’s vote is because council members are waiting to hear from the Sewer Board on its recommendation for that department’s employees, said Councilman Ron Erb.

“They have a meeting coming up before our next meeting and will discuss raises then,” he said. “I will bring back what they recommend.”

The vote on employee raises will be held during the July 16 council meeting.

Ford said the raises would be retroactive to July 1.

Seufer recommended the city make plans to look at its budget and discuss options for employee raises at the first of January to allow the city to set up a more just plan.

“It has been a while since we gave proper raises because we just weren’t able to but we need to set up a better system for the future,” he said.

In other business:

  • City building inspector Dave VanHorn requested the city remind residents that building permits are required for licensed contractors doing work within the city limits as well as homeowners making property improvements for the intent of sale.

Council changed the policy on who needs a building permit in September 2012.

This change means Wood County Schools needs a permit to have the roof of Williamstown High School replaced, which it did not know about, VanHorn said.

“The city changed the policy to protect the citizens,” he said. “There were some people coming in to take advantage of the elderly and we didn’t know who they were; if everyone needs a building permit to do work, we can better keep track.”

The city’s previous permit policy had exemptions, which included churches and schools.