Two council members squared off over how to establish a new city position.
At the Nov. 19 Grove City council meeting, Finance Chairman and Councilman Richard "Ike" Stage introduced an ordinance that would add a deputy city administrator to the staff. This position would be appointed by the mayor, but there would be no fixed term of office. He or she would be under the immediate supervision of the city administrator.
Stage explained that currently there is nothing in the city code that deals with who takes over responsibilities of the city administrator when the person in that position is absent.
"This measure would create a hierarchy in the code," Stage commented. "It would make it clear as to who would perform in the absence of the city administrator. It is good business to have this in the code."
The deputy city administrator could be a full-time or part-time position. In addition to working under the supervision of the city administrator, the person in the position would also assist other administrative department heads as needed. The position would pay a minimum of $51,000 annually and a maximum of $65,000.
"I believe this is a position to move forward with," said Stage. "It should be expense neutral."
The ordinance was added during the council meeting and was not previously on the agenda. Council President Richard Lester questioned the emergency to adding it at the last minute.
"I am adamantly against last minute additions," said Lester.
He explained that last minute measures add to the clerk’s workload and it does not give the public a chance to comment. Incoming mayor, Stage, explained that the city is going to go through a transition and personnel matters need to be addressed. He said that there is not a large time span between Election day and the beginning of the year.
"It is prudent for the incoming mayor to make a smooth transition," Stage remarked. "That is why we should get this on the agenda now."
Lester said a new position of deputy city administrator should not come before council for a vote. He believes a charter review committee should examine the need for the new position. He also questioned the new direction the city plans to take.
"Is the future administration going to ignore city deadlines?" said Lester.
Council is expected to vote on the new position at the Dec. 3 meeting.
Council also withdrew an ordinance to appropriate $152,000 from the general fund for renovations of City Hall. The funds were estimated for phase two of the project. This includes renovations to the lower level of City Hall including council chambers, council office space and the clerk’s office. There are also lobby editions and technology included in the project. Renovations in phase one is near completion. That involved restoration of the upper level. Clerk of Council Tami Kelly explained that the building is 19-years-old and it is showing its wear. She explained that the project gives the building its much-needed maintenance.
Stage suggested the ordinance be removed from the agenda and taken up after the beginning of the year. He said he believes the city can save additional funds on the project.
In other news:
•Mayor Cheryl Grossman was recognized by the Grove City Women’s Civic Club for her service to the community. They gave her a self-portrait that will be on display at City Hall. Grossman said she was very honored and surprised by the recognition.
•Grove City Division of Police Chief Joe Wise said the department was investigating a drug overdose from late this summer. The Grove City resident died from an overdose of black tar heroin.
"The pipeline tracked us directly to Mexico," said Wise.
They arrested two individuals. They are facing charges of manslaughter.