By Nick Worth
The Holbrook City Council discussed having city staff work a 32-hour week in lieu of giving raises Tues-day evening. That proposal was eventually dropped, but the council agreed to discuss adding more personal days in lieu of raises.
City Manager Ray Alley told the council there had been no raises given for at least five years.
Councilman Wade Carlisle noted the city had reduced staff and the work was still being done well.
“I suggest we work them 32 hours and pay them for 40,” said Carlisle. “I think a lot of these guys would like an extra day off. They do everything the administration asks and I’d like to reward them for that.
“Make it a trial for one year,” said Carlisle. “Put in a sundown (clause) so we have to review it after one year.”
Mayor Jeff Hill noted there could be a significant savings possible in mobilizing a crew and fuel costs, as well as the cost of the utilities in the various buildings.
“The main question I see is can the work done in 32 hours be the same as in 40 hours?” said Councilman Phil Cobb. He noted that since Vice Mayor Charles Haussman and Councilman Bobby Tyler were absent, he felt no action should be taken.
“A 32-hour work week would be, essentially, a 20 percent pay raise,” said Councilman Richard Peterson. “I’d like to suggest Ray (Alley) look into other ways to compensate our workers.”
Alley then told the council the 32-hour work week “probably will not work.”
“Right now each city employee has one personal day per year,” said Alley. “If we gave each employee one personal day per month, non-accruable, it would add 12 days per year. That would cut it down from a 20 percent raise to a 5 percent raise.
“We’re going to tweak this proposal,” Alley said. “Our guys are putting out more work than we did before with 20 fewer employees.”
He also noted a 32-hour work week would not be fair to employees of the police and water departments.
“I’d like to not even close city hall on Fridays,” Alley added. He said he did not want the public to be unable to use city services, or get their water turned on. He also emphasized to the council the personal days would be non-accruable, and thus would have to be used or forfeited.
Finally, Alley noted that it would require an ordinance with its built-in readings and waiting periods, and so it would be January before the change could be enacted.
The discussion was then tabled until such time as all members of the council could be present.
In other actions Oct. 16, the council:
* Saw Holbrook police officer Matthew Molique receive a Lifesaver Award for his actions on Aug. 17, 2012, when on an ambulance call to the America’s Best Inn he performed CPR on a heart attack victim that saved the man’s life.
Holbrook Police Chief Mark Jackson told the council, “This lifesaving act brings credit on Officer Molique, the Holbrook Police Department and the City of Holbrook.”
* Heard a report from Jackson on the issue of recent graffiti in the city.
“We got hit pretty hard last weekend,” said Jackson. He told the council his investigators have some sus-pects and evidence, the case remains open and he hopes for an arrest.
* Heard a report from Alley that the city had completed its chip seal program.
He expressed his thanks to Rick Denton of the Show Low Yard, Navajo County Public Works Director Homero Vela and County Engineer Bill Best.
“We paved over a mile of roads with the free millings ADOT gave us,” said Alley.
He also told the council his crews would be planting 12 trees on Wednesday.
“Arizona Public Service gave us vouchers for six trees and we bought six more,” said Alley. He said five of the trees will be planted at Hunt Park to replace the ones cut down because they were interfering with APS power lines. Two more trees would be planted at the concession stand, two at the courthouse and possibly some outside city hall.
Alley then told the council he was beginning a program of cross-training personnel throughout several departments.
“This was an administrative decision on my part only,” Alley said. “There are no personnel changes necessary. After three months we’ll rotate more people into those positions.
“I want to do away with the ‘Water Department’ and the ‘Street Department’ and make a ‘Public Works pool’ so there are more people trained in case of a callout,” said Alley. “So it won’t be the same people get-ting called out every time.
“I want more people in my Street Department that know how to do water work,” Alley said. He said Street Department people will begin riding with the Water Department meter readers.
“So there will be two people riding around in a truck,” Alley told the council. “I know people have complained to the city when they’ve seen that in the past, but this time it will be for training purposes.
“It gives people a change in what they’re doing and perhaps a new vision,” said Alley.
* Approved a proclamation recognizing November 2012 as National Veterans Remembrance Month.
* Approved a donation of $600 to the H.E.L.P. Coalition for candy and prizes for the Halloween Spooktacular community Halloween party.
Cindy Allen told the council last year the party hosted 300 kids, and provided a warm, safe place for them to go on Halloween night.
* Entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the cities of Winslow, Snowflake, Taylor and Pine-top-Lakeside, and Navajo County to receive grant money to pay the wages of a Holbrook police officer to work on the Major Crimes Apprehension Team (MCAT).
* Approved an agreement to rent the use of the Holbrook Community Building to Katrina Tafoya Jaime for Mexican dance classes at the rate of $25 rent per month with the stipulation she clean the facility after each use.
* Approved an intergovernmental agreement with the cities of Flagstaff and Winslow, and with Navajo and Coconino counties for a Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant. The agreement makes Holbrook a coalition member.
“It gives us a seat at the table,” said Holbrook Finance Director Randy Sullivan. “It assures us a project in the community.”
Alley told the council it was the same grant that allowed the city to do some abatements during the past year.
By Nick Worth