Theresa Goble accepted the full-fledged position of city administrator.
“It seems like maybe we should solidify where we are going with the city administrator position,” said Council member Kelly Bevans Tuesday.
Goble took the interim post with the intention of likely stepping down in the fall of 2013. Later, the city removed the interim title. The council committed funds to continue to search for a city administrator. To clarify the matter, the council officially hired Goble as the city’s second administrator.
“She would be a city administrator in every acting and official way,” Bevans said. “There is no sunset on this. There is no official notice of resignation.”
However, Bevans said expectations are Goble will want to retire at the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015 and the city will still have to search for a new administrator. The motion passed unanimously.
In other business, the council:
Asked for citizen service on its committees to participate in city government. Opening include: the cable TV advisory committee, term expiring Dec. 31, 2015; charter commission, term expiring Dec. 31, 2015; planning commission, term expiring Dec. 31, 2015; rental dwelling board of appeals with a tenant and a general public representative, both terms expiring Dec. 31, 2014; transportation committee, two terms expiring Dec. 31, 2014; and housing and redevelopment authority with one term expiring June 6, 2017. The city is going to greater length to promote open positions, placing them on the website and posting them at city hall.
Approved a street closure request to close 15th Avenue Northeast between J and L streets for the soap box derby competitions from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 22, July 27, Aug. 24 and Sept. 28. Local residents will be accommodated in getting out of their driveways, the city reported.
Listened to a report by Cumberland about the League of Minnesota Cities session at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa. Cumberland said she attended a seminar on social media communication and noted some cities have a city blog for spotlights.
“They shared a media study that showed the three most effective media are local newspaper, local TV and informal discussions,” Cumberland said.
Settled union negotiations with the council agreeing to a one year 2 percent wage increase for employees. Two of seven unions agreed, the police officers and Brainerd Public Utilities. The resolution includes the city administrator and department heads and supervisory positions. The city remains in negotiations with the other unions or is setting up meetings with them.
For the police officers, for example, a first year officer would earn $4,377 per month as of Jan. 1 and a fourth year officer would earn $4,858 per month with percentage increases for longevity after eight years of service at 2 percent of the officer’s annual base wage and increasing from there to 3 percent after 12 years of service, 4 percent after 16 years and 5 percent after 20 years. Police officers are paid an extra 55 cents per hour for each hour worked between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Other hourly wages with the 2 percent increase for the public utilities, as an example, included $30.16 for a line worker, $22.91 for a meter reader and $15.91 for a seasonal laborer with the same longevity increases as the police officers.
Other city officials salaries were set for department heads: city administrator, $9,050 per month; city engineer, $7,695; police chief, $7,373, fire chief, $6,872; park director, $5,456; city planner, $5,956; finance director, $7,074; public utilities superintendent, $8,203. Those city officials will receive 1 percent of annual wages after four years of service for longevity pay, 2 percent after eight years, 3 percent after 12 years; 4 percent after 16 years and 5 percent after 20 years of service.
Reported Rep. John Ward, DFL-Baxter, and Sen. Carrie Rudd, R-Breezy Point, would each author a provision regarding funding for the elevator at the Brainerd Area Civic Center to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Approved funding of $4,000 to the Initiative Fund from the special projects fund. The motion passed 6-1. Koep was opposed.
Requested a Fourth of July chat asking for a visit from Community Action to look at the parade plans and budget. In 2012, the city gave Community Action $5,000.
Approved a policy regarding electronic communications after getting a reminder email and other electronic communication between council or committee members are subject to the Minnesota Open Meeting Law and may constitute serial meetings for a violation of the law. The council was reminded to send emails through city staff and they are part of the public record.
Talked about Whittier Elementary School and potential reuses for the building. In the past, the city council supported a resolution the best use of the building for a school. A task force is working to repurpose the building. Bevans said he suspects there will be at least one proposal for a new use this spring.
There may be a reuse for the school that may require a rezoning, Bevans said, adding it could be on a future agenda. Bevans said it’s about $250,000 to operate the school on a yearly basis without long-term capital improvements. Less than half of the students that could have gone to Whittier from the neighborhood actually went there, choosing instead to go to other schools through open enrollment, Bevans said, noting students from other areas then went to Whittier because they liked the smaller school. Cumberland asked if the city could support a school and other uses that may come from the process.
“I think it’s a good question for us to think about,” Bevans said.
Approved a request to begin the hiring process for seven new paid-on-call firefighters, granted three-month fire department leaves to Richard Bestul and Troy Rushmeyer, approved the purchase a $39,580 squad car and use of driving while intoxicated funds of about $6,942 to purchase squad car computers.