Plans for West Jeff community center

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(Posted May 21, 2015)

Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

Village of West Jefferson leaders aim to have plans for a possible community center available for viewing at the West Jefferson July Fourth Streetfest.

At council’s May 18 meeting, President Ron Garver said the hope is that residents will see the display and provide input.

The idea of a community center has been discussed often in recent years. Discussions intensified last year after Galbreath Hall was torn down. The deteriorating building was used by the West Jefferson Youth Athletic Association for years. A community center could provide space for athletic activities and other programs for all ages, as well as meeting space for community groups.

Not only is the village seeking input on what residents want in such a center, but will also need community support when it comes to funding to build and operate it. The deadline for council to place a levy on the Nov. 3 ballot is early August.

Council is having a study done to determine the feasibility of building a community center. One phase of the study is done. A second phase is in the works.

Garver said that once plans reach the point where public input is necessary, the public will have numerous opportunities to express their desires.

Meanwhile, the committee is trying to determine where such a center would be located.

“We looked at two sites and one was ruled out because it was too expensive,” said Mayor Darlene Steele.

Employee Handbook

Council’s employee benefits committee, chaired by Cory Coburn, is tweaking some sections of the village employee handbook.

One proposal came up for a first reading at the meeting, but was tabled. The proposed ordinance defined “spouse” as it relates to the Family Medical Leave Act.

With only a veiled reference to the same-sex marriage question that U.S. Supreme Court justices have under consideration, council members said the definition as presented only describes a spouse when an employee was utilizing the FMLA.

Coburn said the issue was put forth by Jim Evans, a human resources advisor the village has on retainer.

“It has nothing to do with Ohio law,” said Steve Johnston, noting the definition does not mention the word Ohio. He also said the proposal mentioned a marriage “recognized in any state.”

Garver said he favored tabling this proposal and gained support from Doug Eakins, Ray Martin and Jim King in a 4-3 vote to table it.

Other council action

Council approved the hiring of Carol L. Vermillion-Doerr as a part-time assistant water clerk, paying her at the 20-year level. Steele said the new hire has over 20 years of service under the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and was one of 12 people who submitted applications for the job.

Steele read a proclamation declaring the week of May 24 as Police Officer Appreciation Week.She also recognized the Rev. Glade May for his service to the community. May is retiring after 16 years with First Baptist Church.

Council met for 40 minutes in executive session to discuss disciplinary action.

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