Feb 282014

By Nick Worth
The question of who will take over as personnel director for the City of Holbrook was the main topic of conversation at the city council meeting Tuesday night.
The matter was first addressed by Leo Maestas during the initial call to the public regarding items on the agenda. Maestas told the council that selection of a personnel director was very important and should not be undertaken without the presence of Councilman Bobby Tyler, who was absent from the meeting.
“To say the personnel director doesn’t spend a lot of time per month in that job is maniacal,” Maestas told the council. “I want to plead with the council to table the appointment because Bobby Tyler is not here.”
Maestas said Tyler should have the chance to give his input on the appointment.
When the discussion of a new personnel director came up in the order of business, Vice Mayor Charles Haussman read the personnel director’s duties from the personnel manual.
“I feel that community-wide, there’s a lot of angst,” Haussman said. He said he and Tyler had approached one person about taking on the job, but that person declined.
Haussman then asked City Manager Ray Alley if he had expressed an interest in taking over the position.
“I do not want the personnel director’s job,” said Alley. He then told the council he had the city attorney go through the personnel manual and rewrite it to remove him from a lot of the decisions involving grievances against himself.
Alley also told the council, “I see no urgency to appoint a personnel director at this time.”
Haussman noted the city is a lot different than a typical business.
“This is not a business, it’s a government agency and we have guidelines we have to follow and I want to make…sure we follow them.”
“In the past the city manager was the personnel director,” said Mayor Jeff Hill, “but that is not good when a problem is with the city manager.”
Haussman questioned Alley as to how Human Resources Director Vickie James could decide not to do the personnel director job anymore.
“Will this lead to a city worker saying, ‘I don’t want to mow lawns anymore?’” Haussman asked.
“She (James) volunteered to take on that job, but never got any extra pay for doing it,” Alley said.
Councilmen Wade Carlisle and Phil Cobb said they wanted to have a work session before making any decisions.
“I want a work session on this because I have 64 pages of reading to go through,” Cobb said, holding up the rewritten personnel manual.
The council then appointed City Finance Director Randy Sullivan as an interim personnel director for a period not to exceed six months and asked to have a work session scheduled on the matter.
In other action Feb. 25, the council:
* Heard a report from Alley in which he updated the council on the crack sealing on Spurlock Hill and the streets around the LDS church.
Alley then told the council that a surveillance camera helped catch the vandal who broke the glass on the city hall door and the window of a city car.
In addition, Alley said there have been water line breaks at the golf course and that workers from all the city departments have been helping out with the repairs.
“We’ll be spending more time getting the golf course ready for the summer,” said Alley.
He also reported the water department workers have been making good progress on repairing the pump houses and other facilities shown in a slide show at the last meeting.
Alley also told the council city crews would begin abatement work on a property on Second Street.
He then introduced city department heads John Guttery, Parks and Recreation; Pat Serna, Streets; Oasker Hollins, Sanitation; John Gerwitz, Fleet Superintendent; Kathleen Smith, Special Events Coordinator; Doyce Stuart, Safety Officer and city code enforcer; Lance Spencer, Wastewater Treatment; Tim Kelley, Facilities; and Cher Reyes City Clerk and Accounts Payable Clerk. Alley gave each department head a chance to address the council and report on what they have been doing in their departments.
“I feel positive about the direction the city is going,” Alley told the council. “We don’t have a lot of fluff. We’re putting the people’s money on the ground in improvements.”
* Heard a report from Kelley on behalf of the Hashknife Posse. Kelley thanked the council for its support of the annual Pony Express ride.
* Selected Carlisle as Holbrook’s designated representative to the Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG). Hill noted that Carlisle is the current representative to NACOG and is chair of a committee.
* Presented certificates of appreciation to the Holbrook High School Spirit Line in recognition of winning the 2014 Arizona Interscholastic Association Spirit Line Division II State Championship.
* Heard a complaint from C.J. Wischmann, who told the council his mother recently had her mail delivery halted because the postal carrier said there were dogs in her yard.
“She doesn’t own any dogs,” Wischmann said.
He went on to say there are too many dogs at large in the city and that his wife has to carry a stick for protection when she goes on her walks.
“It’s sad that we have to fence our yards to keep dogs out,” Wischmann said.
He then recommended cross-training city employees to impound at-large dogs while they are about their daily rounds.
Ironically, an un-collared, stray dog had found its way into the council chambers before the meeting started and was removed without incident.