Farwell DPW employees’ suspensions stand

April 20, 2017

By Pat Maurer

A Department of Public Works employee’s suspension until May 8 will remain in effect, the Village Council determined Tuesday evening. The decision was approved after meeting with him in a closed session during their regular meeting.

Jason Walters had requested the closed session to ask that his suspension be reduced, according to an audience member at the meeting.

Walters and another employee, Rob Sabisch, were both suspended at a special meeting April 6 after the Village learned their medical cards were expired.

The Village requires DPW employees to maintain a valid CDL license including a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate Card.

During the closed session, Sabisch, while outside with the rest of the audience at the meeting, remarked that the suspensions happened because he had discovered his card had expired and told the Village staff that he had to get it renewed, which he did the next day.

Sabisch was suspended for two weeks with a return date of April 24 and Walters for four weeks with a return date of May 8.

The motion read in part, “with no pay, no benefits. The employees may not use sick, vacation, PTO, bereavement or any other kind of leave during their suspension. The employees must turn in their keys, passwords for reports, email and anything else that pertains to the daily routine of a DPW employee. The employees will have one week to switch the service on their cell phone before service is disconnected by the Village office. The employees must contact the Village Office to enter the premises and have two council members present during their suspension.”

At a second special meeting April 7, both Walters and Sabisch were invited to discuss the disciplinary action taken by the Council.

According to the minutes from that meeting, Sabisch said, “This should be the HR (human resources) person’s responsibility to let the DPW know when their medical cards are going to expire.”

Walters said that “the office and council need to help them out next time, as they have a lot going on.” He also noted that “It is not a law by the State to maintain a medical card.”

The Council responded that although the Village may be exempt (from the requirement of a valid medical card) by the State, the Village requires a valid CDL which means the medical cards are included.

After signing the Employee Warning Notice, agreeing that they had received the notice of the Council’s decision, both men were accompanied by Council members to remove their personal belongings.

In a telephone interview, Village President Gina Hamilton said one of the medical cards had been expired for a year and the other for two years. “If anything would have happened it would have been a huge liability for the Village,” she said.

Another matter at the Village meeting was a presentation by Vic Loomis from Digital Image explaining a better email system for cloud imaging. He said although Digital Image provides the present email system, he recommended they change to Tri Valent. He said the annual cost for five email users was $42 each or a total of $210. He said Digital Image cost $100 less without the email service, leaving a net cost to the Village of $110 annually. He said it is a Microsoft system 365 and would allow more versatility for the Village.

The village is looking for a DPW Supervisor and has received nine applications. Three were selected for interviews on April 24th: Kevin Kipp, Russ Hamilton and Jeff Linton.

Other business approved at the meeting included:
*Approval of the draft of the Master Plan with distribution to government entities for review and comment before final approval.

*Approval of the purchase of gravel from Fisher at $7 to $8 per ton with the Village hauling it.

*Approval to repair the Garbage Truck at Wayland for $5,256.58.

*Accepting the resignation of council member Chris Brewer.

*Authorizing a newspaper ad for the open council seat.

*Opening a bank account at Isabella Bank for the Capital Improvement Plan through U.S.D.A.

*Opening a bank account for the Downtown Development Authority at Isabella Bank.

*A new Complaint Guidelines Policy.

Reports at the meeting included:
*A DPW notification that Hydrant Flushing is scheduled on the north side of the Village May 9 and on the South Side May 10. Emergencies will be handled May 11.

* Three park bids received for construction of a sidewalk from the Village Hall to Superior with a loop around the memorial with lowest bid from Gareiss Services of Bertha Lake for 57,000. The sidewalk is the first Phase of the Village Park renovation project.

*Notification that Spring Clean-up will be held April 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

*Notification that the Friends of Clare County Parks and Recreation has awarded a $2,000 grant to the Village for the current park project.

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