By Pat Maurer
The Farwell Village Council voted 4-1 to approve wage increases for Village Clerk Janet Conlay and Office Assistant Tracy Lee and voted unanimously to approve Paid Time Off for part-time employees at the regular meeting Monday evening.
Conlay had presented the proposal to increase her wages from $16.44 per hour to $19.44 per hour and Lees’s wages from $8.50 to $12.50 per hour, saying it would “bring the office wages more in life with the Department of Public Works’ wages.”
Both Mayor Steve Grim and Council member Delores Knipper agreed that the increases were justified.
Knipper said, “Government has put more and more [responsibility] on our office. I feel the girls in the office deserve it. I don’t find any fault with it.”
Council member Vicky Gunden disagreed. “We raised the wage [Conlay’s] by $2.50 per hour last year and increased the insurance to make it more equitable. What will it be next year? This is not the 2.7 percent we agreed on.”
Mayor Grim said, “This will even up the equity between the DPW [Department of Public Works] and the office staff. It isn’t a raise; we are just looking at comparable positions.”
Grim made the motion to approve the increases. Gunden was the dissenting vote with Council member James Conlay abstaining from the vote.
A second proposal by the clerk was to offer vacation and sick time to part time employees, based on their average weekly hours and on a scale based on the same formula as for full-time employees. For example an employee working 30 hours per week would earn that amount same of time annually for vacation and for personal leave or sick time: hours equal to one week for from one and two years with the village; two weeks for three to four years employment; three weeks for five to seven years, four weeks for 8 to 14 years employment and 5 weeks for 15 years employment or more.
Grim supported the proposal saying, “All employees in the Village should get paid time off equal to what they work each week.” The proposal also stipulated that the vacation or sick time cannot be carried over from year to year, but must be used.
A motion granting paid time off to part-time employees, based on their weekly hours and modeled after the pro-rated schedule for full-tune employees was approved unanimously.
In another matter, the council heard from the “Pop Shop” property owner Paul Hiles, who said, “I’m bummed that you guys decided to sue me instead of talking this out. We could have worked it out.”
Zoning Administrator Rod Williams had told the Council that the court had approved the demolition of the former business after trying to get the property cleaned up for many years.
Hiles asked the council to wait until spring to demolish the building. Later he asked the Council to “give me two weeks to remove items from the building.”
Although the Council approved asking for bids to demolish the building, Hiles said he would try and get it demolished on his own.
Other business at the Village meeting included:
*A 6-0 approval of developing a Parks and Recreation Plan and establishing a budget or fund, with $4,500 to begin the process in the next year’s budget. The $4,500 will pay for Al Ellard to help the Village develop a parks and rec plan, which is necessary before any Department of Natural Resources grant funds for improvements can be sought. The Council also agreed to look at maintenance proposals including the removal of trees in the Village Park(s).
*Approval of a MI-Deal agreement to get a discounted AT&T rate. Conlay reported that the Village should be getting a $2.600 refund or credit for prior years they were eligible for the discounted rate but didn’t get it. She also said the agreement would save approximately $150 per month.
*The Council approved bills totaling $27,965.84 for December.