Council: Yes to a worker; no to a supervisor
The Rugby City Council is not ready to begin the search again for a new public works supervisor.
However, the council agreed another full-time public works employee is needed to shoulder some of the workload.
At its April 5 meeting, the council narrowly voted down a motion (4 to 3) to proceed with advertising for a public works supervisor, but voted 6-1 in favor of hiring another worker to join the current four-person public works department.
Council members had differing opinions on whether this is the time to start looking for a public works supervisor. The city has been without one since Brady Barnum, resigned in early January.
Three months ago Dave Engeland, street department employee, was appointed by the council to serve as acting supervisor. Engeland has over 20 years of experience with the city.
Dave Bednarz, ward two councilman and street committee chairman, made the motion to advertise for a supervisor. Bednarz said one would provide more continuity within the departments and handle the administrative functions. He believes there must be a clear-cut leader.
However, others on the council, including Bill Hartl, ward three councilman, said the current arrangement appears to be working and there is no urgency to find another supervisor. Engeland appears to be doing a good job and Rick Larson, water department head, and the other staff have picked up the slack.
Hartl did agree another worker should be added, since the street department has been down a full-time employee since Barnum left.
Engeland admits the extra responsibility has been a challenge at times, but his fellow workers have been able to get the work done, including snow removal and repairing water main breaks.. He did say he has not been compensated for his extra responsibilities.
The council discussed the type of duties this new employee would perform, and the starting pay scale. Rugby Mayor Dale Niewoehner instructed the finance and street department committee heads to come up with a starting wage for the new employee and also consider additional compensation for Engeland.
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