Here is a summary of the more interesting parts of last night’s discussion:
The mayor proposed contracting with AHBL and Sound Inspections for planning services, inspections, code enforcement and parks. College students will be invited to write a thesis for Pacific. Sun expects this contract work to only be needed part-time at $165 per hour. Sun said he will bring the contract to the council next week. It appears AHBL would serve as public works director and decide who is awarded contracts, including engineering work that they would potentially bid on.
The mayor then proposed turning 10 acres that belongs to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) into a new park. The council expressed concern because it is over 70% wetlands. They also felt that the price DNR would have to sell the land for was too high. The mayor said he is moving ahead with his plan regardless of the council and expects it will only require 15 to 20 hours of AHBL’s time.
The mayor’s new preliminary organizational chart lists several new names of people in positions that are currently vacant or new positions Sun wants to create. When council members questioned him about the correct hiring process (advertise, choose qualified people, don’t hand-pick before the application process even starts), the mayor raised his voice and yelled, “It’s only preliminary!”
Council Member Husley pointed out that according to city code, the city administrator also serves as the finance director. The mayor said he had not seen that. As more questions were asked about his organizational chart, the mayor told the council he did not expect to answer questions at the workshop, he only brought the chart to show them. He was up against a deadline and he was giving “you people a head’s up.”
Sun then asked the council to approve the job description for the human services director, which is already laid out in city code. The council asked him why he wanted approval for something that is already in place. Sun yells again, saying he has to have “you people’s” approval so he can move forward on other positions.
The mayor then asked Sheryl Finwall to speak to the new position she has been working on with Council Member Guier for community services, but she appeared confused. Finwall and Guier have been exploring replacing the director position with a manager at a lower pay rate. Finwall was prepared to explain the new position of bus driver. Ms. Finwall said she can’t write grants and other program details like she needs to while working at the senior center. Husley mentioned that some of the senior don’t like Finwall, but she responded by saying she is busy with administration stuff so she can’t do the social stuff. Finwall had trouble remembering the name of the retirement center in town.
The council asked Finwall and Guier to work out more details of their proposal. Sun responded in frustration, noting this is the first time he has brought his hiring to the council first before just hiring someone.
Sun then asked the current city treasurer to address the job description for finance director. Sun appeared to think treasurer and finance director were the same job (they are not). The mayor has modified the job description and asked the council to review it over at the next workshop. Council Member Guier suggested the issue be looked at the council’s finance committee first.
Sun then explained that he had removed the personnel and human resource duties from the city clerk’s position. The council asked the mayor who would do those duties, if the mayor was proposing adding yet another new employee for that work. Sun said he had not decided yet, he just knew he did not want the clerk to have those responsibilities. Council Member Steiger expressed frustration, telling Sun he should present a full scope of his city staff proposal, not piece-meal. Sun responded by yelling that he is the executive branch.
The city attorney notified the council that the writ of mandamus would be filed in court the next day (a court order requiring the mayor to perform his duties under the law, not as he wants). The attorney had contacted the mayor over the weekend and asked to meet with him, hoping for cooperation so the city could avoid this additional cost. The mayor refused.