MANCHESTER, Ohio — Village Council met recently to announce trick-or-treat times, and appeas village employee concerns.
A motion by Councilman Troy Jolly to accept the minutes of the Sept. 8 regular meeting was seconded by Councilman Michael Phipps.
“We never did do this, should have done this years ago. James D. Werline is a local artist, and where the towers are [in that park], it should be renamed — I just called it the boat launch park — but it should, technically, maybe we could do this, is to name that our Kinfolk Landing, because that was designated in 1991 to do that,” said Councilwoman Christine Henderson.
Henderson said they could make a resolution to do that later.
Jolly said it has been perceived for a long time that owners of the riverfront property own up to the river; said there are only two or three parcels in town that are actually owned by the residents. The village actually owns the riverfront.
“A lot of stuff going on with the land bank. We did get the kayak launch grant, to have that done, Holly [Johnson] is working on that. That’s like $57,000, so we did get that grant. [The] Eagles Building [is being refurbished], doing a lot of work on that. Still trying to get things cleaned up, people getting their properties cleaned up, and working on a couple other things,” said Mayor Teresa Blythe.
A motion by Councilwoman Lori McCartney to purchase two EVOLIS radar speed signs in the amount of $5,499 plus shipping and handling was seconded by Henderson, council agreed.
The speed signs will be stationed on State Route 52.
“We started from Second Street and Broadway Street, around Front Street, coming around to Washington Avenue and State Route 52. The tonnage of blacktop that’s left, we’re going to go as far as we can go on Washington Avenue,” said Street Commissioner Earl Ruark of the street project.
Ruark brought up the recent employee policy passed by council.
“You’re saying that it doesn’t affect vacation for us employees, but it does in our policy, our new policy,” said Ruark.
Blythe said it doesn’t affect what the employees have already earned.
“It changes how it accrues now,” said Blythe.
Ruark said it affected him and everybody else on a weeks vacation.
“It cut us all a week,” said Ruark. Blythe said he still had every vacation.
“I got four weeks, I should have had five weeks,” said Ruark. Phipps said he was talking about what was coming up next year.
“What’s coming up next year, yeah, it has cut some of that,” said Blythe. Ruark said he thought everybody’s got cut.
“Yes. It affected everybody. We had to do something, because the way it was going could bankrupt us. You don’t lose anything you’ve already earned, it just changes how you earn,” said Blythe.
Ruark said he and everybody has lost a week.
“Starting the new policy, yes,” said Blythe. Ruark said starting the new year.
“I would think you would do it for new employees, but I wouldn’t think it would be right for current employees,” said Ruark.
Fiscal Officer Kayla Bowman said that vacation time right now is earned per pay period.
“So, let’s say, I earn 1.2 hours per pay period. So every time I get paid I get 1.2 hours up until that new policy. The new policy says you get all of your vacation on Jan. 1. We haven’t earned next years vacation, because we haven’t worked, if that helps understand how our vacation was earned to how the new policy is,” said Bowman.
Lonnie Bilyeu, village employee, said they were taking away what they could earn.
“So we don’t deserve to earn any more than what we already got?” asked Bilyeu.
Blythe said the reason for the change was because it could potentially bankrupt the village.
“You’re taking away employees here that have certifications that all of us could go elsewhere if need be. Then what’s your plan?” questioned Bilyeu.
Jolly asked why the department heads weren’t grouped in on the policy, instead of passing it in a hurry. Blythe said they had three readings. Ruark said they didn’t know anything.
“Hand them the policy to take back to their employees and say, listen, what do you all think about this?” said Jolly.
“Me and Mike [Phipps] worked on it all summer,” said Henderson. Blythe said it was announced that they were doing it.
“It wasn’t handed out, and I’ll take the blame on that. That’s an oversight of mine,” said Phipps.
Blythe said they modeled the new employee policy on what Georgetown and Sardinia do.
“I understand that. My point is, for new employees, but I think the employees you got now, I mean really, we got the shaft,” said Ruark.
Bilyeu said they were cutting off the good employees they had.
“Like, it don’t matter, we’re going to do this. So, we’re worth nothing?” said Bilyeu.
Phipps said that if the village goes belly up, they’re not going to have a job.
“There’s 52 weeks per year. Doesn’t matter if it’s a vacation week, whether it’s a pay week, you get paid 52 weeks in that year,” said Ruark.
Phipps said that’s if you’ve got money to get paid.
“I’m just going to pose a couple questions, because the past three years I’ve been sitting at this table, I’ve heard we’re bleeding money, we don’t have it. I’ve heard the fact that we’re turning off the street lights, and then we pass the levy to keep the street lights on, it saved the village $16,000. If we’re bleeding so much money, then we’re saving money now, so I think the guys — and girls — are right. We go around crying that we’re broke all the time, but are we? I mean we’re saving money. We’re saving tax money. What are we doing with the money in the general fund?” said Jolly.
Blythe said the new policy has been discussed.
“We have been talking about this, we’ve talked about it in finance. It’s been discussed. It’s not that we’re trying to punish anybody, but we have to do what’s fiscally sound. We’re not taking your pay away from you. It does change how you earn it, and the amount that you can keep, because if we continue, we’re going to be bankrupt. We can’t pay everybody out. If you don’t use your vacation, then when you retire, we have to pay all of that out,” said Blythe.
Henderson said they simply changed the formula of how much vacation they accumulate. Ruark said he understood that part.
“I’m going to make a motion tonight that we repeal the language and that we will grandfather the current employees as it was written in the old context from the previous employee manual. Just the language. All new employees coming in will be under this new policy,” said Jolly.
Baker said that if they do that, it’s probably got to be done by a written amendment and passed by council.
Blythe asked if there was a second to the motion or any further discussion.
Jolly enunciated they would be grandfathering in all current staff.
“I would say, instead of doing this in the meeting, because nobody ever came to any meeting,” said Blythe. Michelle Bilyeu said they had to rearrange their work schedules to be there.
“For Lonnie, he has to have a second job. He has to have a second job, you guys sign his paycheck. He cannot live off of that paycheck, he works a second job. So, he can’t attend everything. He has to work,” said Michelle Bilyeu.
Lonnie Bilyeu brought up losing vacation.
“That’s another question I have. You say we’re gonna lose [our vacation] if we don’t use it. I can’t get off. Nobody can cover me,” said Lonnie Bilyeu.
Lonnie said he loved his job, has been working for the village for over 30 years.
“It’s ungodly what I’ve given to this town, and now we’re going to cut what people earn? That makes it rough,” said Lonnie Bilyeu.
Henderson enunciated on what the current perceived issues were from the employees.
“The length of service by years, and that if you don’t use your vacation time, you lose it,” said Henderson.
On request of Blythe, Henderson, Phipps, and Shively will meet with the individuals to compromise on their needs without jeopardizing fiscal responsibility.
“So that we can make some corrections so that helps us fiscally, but you guys don’t feel like we’re taking away from you. That’s not the intent. The intent was being fiscally responsible. We will do is we’ll come up with a meeting, we’ll let you know when the meeting is, you bring your issues to us, and we will come up with an amendment that we will give you a copy of before we bring it to council,” said Blythe.
A motion by Henderson to pay bills from IBI, Bound Tree Medical, COVID-19 purchases was seconded by Councilwoman Irene Shively, council agreed.
A motion by Phipps to pay regular bills was seconded by Henderson, council agreed.
Councilwoman Regina Adams extended her thanks to the street and water department, Diane Brown, and the beautification committee.
In his health and safety report, Jolly explained that while he thinks masks should not be mandated, he stresses their importance and encourages people to wear them.
“Nov. 11, which is Veteran’s Day, the Veterans are going to have their veteran events here at [the Veteran’s Park on Jack Roush Way] in Manchester. They’re going to dedicate the Vietnam Memorial that they put up for the three men in Manchester,” said Tim Dever.
A motion by Henderson to adopt Ordinance 2020-12 An ordinance providing for the clean-up of junk, litter and clutter on private party was seconded by Shively, council agreed.
Council completed a list of resolutions under new business.
A motion by Phipps to set trick-or-treat to Oct. 31 from 5-7 p.m. was seconded by Jolly, council agreed.
The next council meeting will be Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.
With no more business before the council, the meeting was adjourned.