CLINTON — City Administrator Gary Boden has introduced a proposal to reorganize several city departments.

Boden told the City Council earlier this week that discussion about reorganizing has been under way for several months. He noted that while the city has an estimated 300 full- and part-time employees with 91 different job titles, the city has no formal human resources department.

Boden suggested a human resource position could aid the city in a number of ways, including improving labor relations and communication, streamlining the payroll process, improving training opportunities for various departments and better preparing the city for bargaining with employee unions.

Boden said the proposed plan includes upgrading a city clerk position from part time to full time and providing back-up assistance in the administration department. In a summary of the personnel cost related to the new position, the human resource coordinator could be paid a suggested salary of $24,000 and receive $11,420 in benefits for fiscal year 2007-2008. An accountant/administrative assistant could be paid $25,000 in salary and $8,360 in benefits. In addition, a position of assistant finance director could be created at a salary of $45,000 and benefits at $11,171 in fiscal year 2008-2009.

Boden said that in the Department of Public Works, the city has no public works director. He explained that the person previously in the position left and the city made the decision not to fill the vacant position. Boden proposed making Water Pollution Control Superintendent Gary Schellhorn the public works director and creating three subgroups in public works, including water pollution control, streets and fleets and facilities and grounds.

Similar functions would be put under the three divisions and Boden said it would be more cost effective and efficient for the city. Transportation Director Dennis Hart would serve as department head for streets and fleets and Parks Superintendent Tom Krogman would serve as the department head of facilities and grounds.

A timeline for the Department of Public Works shows that reorganizing the management structure would consist of rethinking the salary pay plan and working with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in fiscal year 2007-2008.

In fiscal year 2008-2009, negotiations with AFSCME could be completed for the restructuring, management changes would be made and the solid waste conversion would begin.

In fiscal year 2009-2010, Schellhorn would be elevated to the position of Public Works Director and a new WPCS would be hired or promoted.

City Clerk/Treasurer Deb Neels explained the job description for an administrative assistant in the finance department. Neels said many of the office staff members have been working overtime to keep up with regular duties and said the office had the position on a part-time basis in fiscal year 2001-2002. She said reinstating the position would help to relieve the staff workload and asked for the council’s favorable consideration of the post.

Boden introduced Sarah Kagemann, transit coordinator for the Municipal Transit Administration, saying that she could become the human resources coordinator. Kagemann said she has been working for the city for more than two years and has been involved as a safety coordinator for the MTA. She noted that through her interactions with city employees, she became aware of a separation between departments and realized a need for the human resources function. Kagemann currently is completing her education in business management.

Following the discussion, Third Ward Councilman Darrell Smith said Boden had inundated the council with speculative plans over the past hour and a half, and noted he was not prepared to vote on anything related to the proposal. He asked Boden to provide the council with copies of the proposal and bring the matter up for discussion again in the future.

Ward 2 Councilman Mike Kearney asked how the new positions would be funded and how the cost might affect citizens’ property tax bills. Boden said the salaries could be funded through expected tax revenue coming from ADM in the coming years. He said the city could see cost savings because of departments becoming more efficient and said a projected growth in the local tax base due to ADM could make it so the cost wouldn’t be noticed by the taxpayers.

Boden closed by saying the city is in desperate need of reorganization and he believes there is a need to do things differently and more efficiently. He said city staff may experience a clearer understanding of their job and duties and feel better about what they are doing. Boden explained that there would be no job cuts with the restructuring.

At Large Councilman Ron Mallicoat said he liked the plan, but was not ready to vote on it. He acknowledged that it was “quite obvious” the city cannot continue to do business the way it has been.

Ward 4 Councilman Rodger Holm made a motion to place the creation of two new city positions, a human resources coordinator and administrative assistant, on the council agenda for Aug. 14 and the motion was seconded by At Large Councilman Mark Vulich. The issue passed by a vote of six to one with Smith voting no.

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