The City Council met in special session on August 10, 2011 at 7:30 P.M. in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
Mayor Walker presided:
City employees present were Attorney Green, Chief Quantz and Clerk Kennedy.
DISCUSSION AND DECISION ON POLICE BUDGET: Mayor Walker explained that per Council instructions during the budget workshops, he instructed Chief Quantz to hire Officer Paul Orgish fulltime (instead of the 24 month provisional position) and to explain that the City vehicles were not allowed outside the city limits except for Sgt. Beene who was grandfathered in. Mayor Walker wanted to comment that the City has no vehicle policy. The City had an unwritten policy that the police chief live within 5 minutes of town. The City doesn’t do that with public works or the city clerk, but felt it was important with the police chief as his position is an emergency position. The City doesn’t require that the police chief is on standby or on call when he’s not on duty so he felt it was outdated at this time.
Officers and vehicles: Mayor Walker stated the City lets the Public Works Director decide what the employees do, who takes a vehicle home and when. The City doesn’t care what type of vehicle public works has, color or brand, but on the police department they have different ideas. Walker wasn’t sure it was practical to have a matching fleet. He felt the department head should be responsible enough to decide when someone should be allowed to take a vehicle home or negotiate a pay rate.
Walker explained Chief Quantz attempted to hire Paul Orgish on a fulltime basis and let him know that he wouldn’t have a vehicle. Paul has 20 years experience which is as much as senior officer Sgt. Randi. He has had numerous people comment on what an excellent officer Paul is. As of October 1st Orgish was moving to $14.84/hour with a car. Chief Quantz negotiated with Orgish and Orgish stated he needed $18.04/hour without a car. The increase in cost would be approximately $8,500.00 additional in the budget. If Orgish does not received that amount, he probably won’t stay. At that point the City would either need to hire a transfer officer or a new officer that would need to go POST, which would cost a similar amount.
Mayor Walker recommended the City continue without a written policy, allowing department heads to control the vehicles, where people live and deal with everything on a case by case basis. At this time the City could retain Paul at $14.84 with a car.
Attorney Green stated Orgish is irreplaceable. It would be difficult to find an officer with his work ethic, experience and attitude. He felt Orgish was worth whatever needed to keep him and he’s do whatever it took that was cheapest.
Chief Quantz stated he was trying to be responsible for the budget and has done the best he could. He looked at the cost and as a department head doesn’t want to give a raise because the car is the best way for the budget and the best for the moral of the department. It would take years to replace Orgish because of his experience.
Councilwoman DeHaas felt the tension over the car needed to disappear. It doesn’t need to be talked about any more. She has visited with people, read Quantz’s statement in the budget and her personal conclusion is that the City doesn’t need to micromanage Quantz as long as he stays within his budget.
Councilman Houger felt Quantz should run his department and budget. He felt it’s cheaper to let Orgish drive the car. He felt the City should get rid of the 5 minute requirement for the chief. If the City has to have the chief available within 5 minutes of town then the City is messed up.
Councilman Lorentz stated his concern from the beginning wasn’t that Chief Quantz wasn’t doing a great job. It is a matter of public opinion when the Council gets the questions. For example, if something would happen in Cottonwood or if a citizen questions why the City can’t afford to oil the streets, but an officer gets to take a car home. He felt Orgish would need a pay increase without a car but felt it would be about $4,000 based upon the IRS reimbursement, rather than $8,000.
Councilman Peterson was in agreement with Mayor Walker and Councilwoman DeHaas.
Councilman Lester stated he hasn’t changed his mind. He felt if the City emblems come off when leaving town, then it was like the City was hiding something. He felt the City has more liability when the vehicle leaves town and that the City needs a vehicle policy.
Councilwoman DeHaas asked for clarification. If the Council wanted to let Chief Quantz run his department as stated in the minutes above, and do his own negotiations with vehicles then was is correct that no motion would need to be made? The only way a motion would need to be made is if the Council approved a budget increase for a pay increase for Orgish.
Mayor Walker stated that was correct.
No motion was made to increase the budget.
The meeting adjourned at 8:05 P.M.
Bruce Walker – Mayor
Tonya Kennedy – Clerk