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Marion agrees on perks for new administrator

Staff writer

Marion’s city council unanimously approved a contract Monday for Mark Skiles to become city administrator.

Skiles’s starting date will be July 25.

Under terms of the contract, Skiles will be paid $100,000 a year for 24 months. If his contract is terminated, he will continue to draw pay for six months and benefits for nine months.

If his contract were terminated for cause as defined in the contract, the city would not have to pay. The contract defines “cause” as fraudulent or dishonest conduct, conviction of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude, or failure to fulfill or comply with obligations in the employment agreement.

Although his pay will be on a salaried basis, he will be allowed to take compensatory time off.

Skiles will have 80 hours of vacation time and 20 hours of sick time available immediately. The city is to pay the full cost of his health and dental insurance plus 25% of his family health and dental insurance.

Skiles will be paid $2,500 for moving costs upon his first day at work, but if he terminates his contract before actually relocating, the $2,500 must be repaid.

He will have to live within five miles of the city limits within six months of employment.

Skiles, 63, most recently was city administrator in Clinton, Oklahoma, until his abrupt resignation in May 2020.

People who knew Skiles have described him as “a lightning rod” and said “a storm goes wherever he goes.

In other business Monday:

Street dance

A downtown merchant’s request for approval of a street dance Sept. 23 was met with criticism from another Marion merchant.

Johsie Reid appeared on Monday’s agenda to seek permission for a street dance Sept. 3, but when she spoke to council members, she asked for permission to change the date to Sept. 24.

Sept. 24 is the town’s annual Old Settlers Day festival.

Questioned by mayor David Mayfield about the date, Reid said she’d changed her mind on.

Josh Tajchman, who owns Taco’s Food Truck and That One Place, made no secret that he didn’t appreciate Reid’s proposed date change.

“My concern is, I totally support this event, but I don’t like it being on Old Settlers Day,” Tajchman said. “I would propose that it be on a different date than Old Settlers.”

Tajchman said his business relied on a free flow of traffic along Main St.

Although Reid’s request was to close Main St. downtown, Tajchman thought it might interfere with his business eight blocks away.

Reid said she was part of a younger generation of merchants and wanted to support all the community’s businesses.

Council member Chris Costello said he agreed with Tajchman.

“Why don’t we wait a couple weeks to do it?” Costello said.

Tajchman asked if Reid planned to bring in outside vendors for the street dance.

“Josh, you’re the top of my list,” Reid said.

Mayfield suggested Sept. 23 instead, but no action was taken even though Reid asked for a decision to be made Monday to give her time for planning. Rather, Mayfield tabled the issue for two weeks.

Bond ordinance

Bond adviser Beth Warren of Ranson and City Code Financial, presented council members with a charter ordinance that would allow the city to issue $1.875 million in bonds to be paid off with a 0.75% percent sales tax imposed 21 years ago to pay for improvements in the city’s industrial park.

The bonds would be used to complete work in the industrial park and resurface streets in other portions of town.

Warren’s proposal had incorrect dates in the financing schedule, including when the proposed charter ordinance would be published in the newspaper.

No vote was taken to approve the proposed bond ordinance. Mayfield told Warren to come back in two weeks.

Loomis House

Justin Loomis, who lives at 413 S. 4th St. in a house the city condemned a month ago, gave council members a hand-written list of things he would do to improve the condition of the house.

He had been told to give council members a schedule for its rehabilitation, but the list he gave had no dates on it.

“What’s the timeline to get all this done?” Mayfield asked.

City code inspector James Masters told council members what he’d seen when he inspected the house.

“The main things are the electric and the water,” Masters said. “The structure is sound. It’s not going to fall in and kill anybody.”

Mayfield gave Loomis another chance to comply.

“I want you back here on the 25th, and you give us a list of what you have accomplished on the house,” Mayfield said.

Last modified July 14, 2022

 

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