‘No more than 30’Riverside council hires part-time worker for city hall
RIVERSIDE — On Monday, April 14, the Riverside City Council approved hiring a part-time employee for city hall. The resolution approval didn’t come without some concerns.
City Administrator Rusty Rogerson began the discussion by talking about the two applicants. He said one applicant was qualified and the second didn’t meet the qualifications that were posted in the paper.
“I’m recommending that the city offer $12 an hour to candidate No. 1,” Rogerson said.
Councilor Nate Kasdorf took issue with how the hiring process was proceeding.
“I thought it was the responsibility of the city council to do the hiring and firing,” Kasdorf said. “The reason why I ask that is that we’re hiring somebody and I don’t have an application from anybody in front of me and I’m supposed to be hiring them. How am I supposed to do that without an application in front of me?”
Rogerson said it was the council’s job. He said he was only following what was in previous minutes of meetings when it came to the hiring process.
“We can postpone it until next meeting and I’ll make you copies of their applications,” Rogerson said.
Kasdorf said the council still had a job to do when it came to the hiring and firing of city staff. He said it wasn’t a big issue but still wanted to ask why the council members didn’t have copies of the applications.
Kasdorf also brought up how the resolution was worded.
“I just wonder if we shouldn’t have something on the resolution to some way control this somehow,” Kasdorf said. “I mean not me, myself, but the council. I don’t want to see it go on 30 hours a week, 32 hours a week, 38 hours a week, or 40 hours a week and so forth.”
Rogerson took issue with Kasdorf’s statement. He wanted to know if Kasdorf wanted a daily report on what the employee was doing.
Kasdorf said no. He said he just wanted a detailed monthly report on what that staff member was doing while working at city hall.
“Nate, I made the motion up to 30 hours a week,” councilor Ralph Schnoebelen said. “No more than 30.”
Kasdorf said he didn’t want 30 hours a week to become a regular workweek for the employee.
Rogerson said the council needed to trust him when it came to doing things for the city.
“You’re going to have to have faith that as a professional administrator, I’m not going to have someone here if they’re not needed, and we’re not there, so I’d like to withdraw this off of the agenda,” Rogerson said.
Councilor Bob Schneider Jr. said that wasn’t the case for him.
“I don’t think you’re sitting out here trying to spend the city’s money foolishly,” Schneider said. “I think you’re trying to fill a need here to get things done.”
Schneider also reminded the council it would take 30 hours for a while to get the new employee trained.
“I’d have to go back to the minutes where you approved the advertisement (for the position) because there was considerable discussion at that meeting about the hours,” Rogerson said. “I felt there was a consensus at that meeting, I’ll review the minutes, that the average for an entire fiscal year would be 30 hours or less per week.”
Mayor Bill Poch said he wasn’t opposed to what Rogerson had suggested as far as tabling that item on the agenda. However, he said the motion had been made and seconded, so the council should proceed with the vote.
Councilor Chris Kirkwood said her understanding of the position was that it was supposed to be an average of 20 hours a week, not to exceed 30.
Schneider said the council had recently hired part-time summer help but there weren’t applications that the council saw. Kirkwood said the reasoning behind that was because most of the council members knew who this applicant was and had input on that decision.
“Most of you know this person,” Rogerson said. “We’re just not at the level of trust here that we need to be at to do these kind of things.”
Schnoebelen said he couldn’t believe where the council’s discussion was going. Poch also said there was no need for a monthly report because it was leading to micromanaging from the council.
“Come in and ask,” Poch said. “Come in and ask what’s going on.”
Rogerson said he was free to speak to anyone on the council at any time.
“I don’t understand what all the turmoil’s about,” Schnoebelen said, “because I think you’ll use them no more than you need them.”
Kirkwood disagreed with Schnoebelen’s comment. She said for other city employees, like the city engineer, the council had asked for a detailed report but hadn’t received it.
“I don’t have time to put it together, just to be honest with you,” Rogerson said. “By the time I spend researching things that aren’t worth researching for you, I don’t have enough hours in the day.”
Poch stepped in and asked for a roll call vote. The resolution passed. Kirkwood was the only council member to vote no.
Rogerson said he was confused as to whether or not the council wanted the applications on the next agenda. He also asked if the topic was going to continue on to the next council meeting.
“I’m not confused, because there had been discussion,” Poch said. “We continued on. We made some requests during that discussion. We had a vote and the applicant passed.”