By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester City Council is moving ahead with establishing a parks superintendent position, but will have to wait on further discussion of creating city administrator, in-house law director, and construction inspector positions.
While the superintendent, law director and construction positions are not allocated in the 2023 budget, the city administrator position was budgeted for the upcoming year.
However, talks between council members and administrators during council’s Nov. 21 meeting found no consensus in moving the administrator position out of a work session for full council consideration.
Currently the city is governed by a “strong mayor/strong council” form of government.
According to a position description contained in the legislation up for consideration, a city administrator provides for the day-to-day management of the city, including directing and coordination of all city departments. The city administrator is responsible for multiple city programs and activities in accordance with city codes, ordinances and statutory requirements.
“The mayor is still the leader, but it’s becoming apparent over time the city needs that go-to person, like these guys sitting at this table,” said Mayor Mike Ebert.
Councilwoman Jill Amos said she does not have a problem with an administrator, but does have a problem with a full time mayor and a full time administrator for a city the size of Canal Winchester.
“Fiscally, I don’t think it’s responsible,” said Amos. “We go the route of a full time administrator, we need a part time mayor. The charter has to be reviewed prior to that decision being made.”
The salary range for the administrator position is a minimum hourly rate of $48.30 and maximum hourly rate of $70.46. While funds were budgeted for the position, they cannot be expended until the city administration position is approved by council.
Impacting the discussions were concerns about the mayor’s salary if an administrator is hired and job duties if the mayor becomes a part time position.
“If we’re paying this person (mayor) $20,000 to $30,000 a year, what are the expectations?” asked Councilwoman Laurie Amick, who asked for job descriptions for both part time and full time mayor positions.
When it came time to vote on moving the three ordinances on to full council for first readings, all three were tabled.
Council is considering accepting a quitclaim deed at 300 Winchester Road, which is the site of the Field of Honor Cemetery.
“The current owner/operator wants to cease operations,” said Public Service Director Matt Peoples. “By state law, we have to acquire that property because it’s in the corporation limits. There are four parcels out there—the Union Grove Cemetery, which we already own; the Field of Honor, which is the cemetery out front; the mausoleum is its own separate parcel and they’re still working through ownership.”
Peoples expects a similar ordinance for the mausoleum in a future meeting. The remaining parcel was given by the owners to a Vietnam Veterans organization that maintains the property.