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Attorney gets 25% raise

Three proposed contracts sent back for further research after questions raised at city council meeting

Staff writer

Three of four employment contracts proposed at Monday’s city council meeting were tabled for further consideration after a member of the public pointed out that city code prohibits terms included in the contracts.

During public comment time at the beginning of the meeting, city council candidate Ruth Herbel questioned offering employment contracts for more than one year to appointed officials. She said that although she’d requested the contracts at 8:30 a.m. Monday, they were still not available to her at 3:30 p.m. She did not know if the contracts violated city code, which limits an appointment to one year.

“I ask that you consider carefully what your decision will be on these contracts if they are for appointed personnel, which includes city clerk, judge, police chief, city attorney, city administrator, and any other offices deemed necessary,” Herbel said.

The contracts city attorney Susan Robson prepared were for fire chief, economic development director, city attorney, and city administrator.

Robson’s contract is from Aug. 1 until April 30, and gives her a 25% raise, from $100 an hour to $125 an hour for up to 12 hours per month and $100 an hour for additional hours worked.

Robson’s proposed contract for city economic development director Randy Collett is for a term of two years. It sets an increased salary of $39,873.60 with merit raises and cost of living adjustments possible. It also includes a provision for 90 days severance pay if Collett is terminated for any reason other than commission of a crime.

Robson said in her review of city contracts she found the municipal judge had been working for years without a contract. Collett’s contract did not include a salary, and the city administrator contract she drew up was based on a previous contract.

Her proposed contract for city administrator Roger Holter is for a term of two years

also. It sets an increased salary of $72,404.80 with merit and cost of living adjustments possible. The contract also includes a provision for 180 days severance pay if Holter is terminated for any reason other than commission of a crime, and that if he is terminated, the city will pay a lump sum payment for any accumulated vacation, compensation time, and sick leave.

Marion’s personnel and policy guideline manual, revised in 2018, stipulates that employees are not paid unused sick leave at termination of employment.

“An employee shall not be paid for any unused sick leave upon termination of his or her employment with the city,” the personnel manual reads.

Retiring employees are treated differently on payment of accumulated sick pay. In that situation, the manual states that retiring employees can be paid up to a maximum of 240 hours of accrued sick pay.

Holter’s proposed contract states also that if new city council members are elected, they cannot terminate him for six months.

Holter said when he was hired in 2013, he was offered a contract and did not want one. He did not say why he wants one now.

Mayoral candidate and former city administrator David Mayfield, also present at the meeting, said when he was appointed interim city administrator when he served as police chief, he’d asked for a contract because he wanted to be able to return to the police position if the city administrator position did not work out. He was permanently appointed six months later in 2003 and did not have a contract after that. He retired in 2010.

The contract presented for the position of fire chief does not specify a length of appointment. Fire chief Mike Regnier is retiring from the fire department after nearly 44 years.

The proposed contracts were not included in the agenda packet for the city. Marion County Record contacted Robson early Monday afternoon and Robson agreed to provide copies of the contracts prior to the meeting, but did not have them available. On Tuesday, she responded to a Kansas Open Meetings Act request by saying, “you will need to make that request to the city of Marion.”

The same request was submitted to Holter and no response was received.

Last modified July 18, 2019

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