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Council approves new job descriptions

Three positions not to yet be filled
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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A concern about rightsizing the salaries of future employees and the number of supervisors working for the city of Lincoln led to a 40-minute discussion during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Rightsizing is when costs and services meet the city’s current needs. Councilman Gabriel Hydrick started the discussion when he pulled an item off of the consent agenda. The City Manager’s Department requested the approval of five job descriptions, three in the finance department, an environmental services manager and a customer-service supervisor. Recruitment for the principal accountant and senior accountant positions “will occur … upon approval of this report,” according to City Manager Jim Estep, but the remaining three positions will not be filled at this time. Hydrick gave his reasons for pulling the item. “One is about the salaries. I want to make sure they are right-sized for Lincoln,” Hydrick said. “I am wondering if the salaries are specific to this date and time or are a little outdated.” Estep said the salary schedules were determined by basing “the salaries on a given percentage above or below the next position in the classification series,” which is 15 percent. “I would like to see a little bit more detail about how we are right-sized for Lincoln. My thought and wonder is we don’t need more management at this point,” Hydrick said. “We need more rank- and-file people to get in and do the work.” Hydrick acknowledged that the city’s finance department “is spread thin.” “They are working extremely hard, covering all kinds of positions,” Hydrick said. “We do need a couple of bodies. For me, I would like to see number crunchers, pencil pushers, rank-and-file in the trenches and doing the work.” Estep said the principal accountant position “is a number cruncher.” “I think it’s important to have a principal and senior accountant not only for career growth for existing staff but the ones that come in,” Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Anna Jatczak said. The city’s consultant auditors recently told city staff, during the audit of the city’s books ending June 30, 2009, that more employees in the finance department are needed, according to Estep, “to provide proper financial reporting.” Mayor Paul Joiner commented on the potential blurring of the City Council’s role as policy makers. “What’s important to me is having appropriate people with appropriate skill sets in place and clear job descriptions of what they are responsible for,” Joiner said. “The reality is, council is meant to be policy makers, not administration, and when we start trying to figure out how to put a person in place, whether it’s boots on the ground or someone more senior, that drifts into the administrative side.” Joiner motioned to the department heads lining the right side of the room. “That is the responsibility for these folks on this side to decide what they need to work effectively,” Joiner said. The job descriptions passed with a unanimous vote by all five City Council members. In other news, the City Council voted unanimously to authorize changes to the master fee schedule for both library and recreation, but not without another 45 minutes of discussion. Twenty-nine changes to library fines and fees were approved Tuesday night, and include changes to photocopying fees, damage fines and room rentals. Forty-two changes were made to recreation programs, which include facility rentals and program registration fees. Jatczak said Monday that the changes to library and recreation fines and fees “will help in cost recovery” but did not have a number on how much money the new fines and fees will bring to the two departments. “We don’t know what the impact will have on the level of participants,” Jatczak said. “Everyone has a tipping point where they will or won’t sign up. We did a comparison with our surrounding jurisdictions and I know our fees are the same or less than other jurisdictions.” Hydrick had an issue with the order of decisions for the library. “I just, in general, don’t get the methodology,” Hydrick said. “I don’t know why we cut the hours down to 12 hours and then raised the fees.” Nader gave his position on the library’s current policy on free DVD’s. “If we charge 25 cents a day for DVD’s, we could generate $36,000 a year,” Nader said. “I think we need to revisit whether it’s cost effective for the library to provide DVD’s, rather than educational or documentaries. I know DVD’s are a major part of staff time.” Resident David Gordon, a city Library Advisory Board member, told council members that they could use their “clout and ability” to have Sierra College and the Western Placer Unified School District continue with their funding of the Twelve Bridges Library. “You continue to get support from (Western Placer Unified School District Superintendent Scott) Leaman, who has all kinds of alligators in his pool, and he continues to fund,” Leaman said. “I understand (Sierra College President Leo) Chavez’s position. When you put your name on something as important as libraries, you have a fiduciary, as well as legal, responsibility to stand behind the things you support.” Gordon told the City Council to support the library among “severe budget deficits,” and told Councilman Spencer Short that he can “find the money.” “I will follow you to the end of the rainbow and pick up that pot of gold,” Short said.