Overload and overtime questioned
RIVERSIDE — At the work session on Monday, March 11, the topic of overtime in the office became heated quickly.
Riverside Mayor Bill Poch began the discussion with the work overload.
“I said this to Kevin Kiene before the work had piled up,” he said. “Back in June and July people’s bills were getting piled up and so forth and so on. What I’m saying is that it’s just kind of snowballed since then and I think Rusty (Rogerson) and Lory (Young) are still in catch-up mode.”
Poch said there have been conversations about ending the office workday at 4:30 p.m. He also mentioned that city administrator Rogerson has asked for an additional person to be hired to help out with office duties.
Poch also stated that, in the past, the office has had more than two people working in it. Councilor Chris Kirkwood didn’t agree.
“We’ve had two and a half people working temporarily in the past when they’re training someone,” Kirkwood said. “But this is a two-person office.”
Rogerson then asked how they would like to define his job.
“I thought you hired me for the city to move ahead,” Rogerson said. “There’s so many avenues we should be perusing like these two to three businesses. Who’s going to do that?”
Rogerson and Young have received phone calls about the land adjoining the River Crossing Clinic. Earlier in the work session they asked the council about the zoning of that land and if they would like the zoning committee to review it.
Councilor Nate Kasdorf asked why there was a need to discuss employee overtime.
“The city administrator works as the city liaison for public and private industries, other city agencies, outside city agencies,” Rogerson said. “Who’s going to do that? Who’s going to go to all the economic development meetings? Who’s going to go to Cedar Rapids?”
Young also said she couldn’t do everything in the office.
“I can’t do payroll, I can’t do bank statements,” Young said. “I can’t do all of that stuff. Plus the filing, plus the answering of the phones, plus work out a water bill situation. I can’t do all of that stuff if you want me to work only eight hours a day.”
Kirkwood said she is concerned about the increase in employee costs at city hall.
“This is a small town,” Kirkwood said. “It really seems to me you are trying to run it like it’s Coralville.”
Rogerson said that Kirkwood previously told him he wasn’t hired to be the town’s social director and that was her opionion.
“If you don’t offer any services and you don’t go beyond that what’s the incentive for coming here?” Rogerson said.
Kiene asked him what they would need to do their job. Rogerson said that if the council wants him to continue working as he does now, a third person would need to be hired.
“Hire another part-time person,” Rogerson said. “There’s no guarantee for the hours of work that person would have. Like I told you when I came here we haven’t filed a resolution since I came here. There are boxes next to the file cabinet waiting for those to be put into the file cabinet.”
Kasdorf said sooner or later another person would be needed to help answer the phones and help with filing. He doesn’t want to see the city rely on the third person for 20 or more hours a week.
“There’s got to be some relief here so that Lory can take a week off to be with her kids when they get out of school this summer,” Rogerson said. “And I can take some time off. As a two-person staff we’re not going to be able to do that.”
Kirkwood said that the previous office workers hardly had any overtime when they worked for the city.
“I’ll tell you why,” Rogerson said. “Because they didn’t do anything. When I walked in here and the checkbook hasn’t been balanced since April.”
Kirwood said Rogerson was wrong. She said she had a copy of the checkbook being balanced in June. She said the taxes had been done as well.
Rogerson said that he and Young had set up the payments for the taxes to be taken out and that once again the previous staff hadn’t done their job.
Kirkwood said her issue with hiring another person is that she doesn’t have details as to what that person would do.
“Do you need that level of details?” Rogerson said.
Kirkwood said it was difficult to talk about this when Rogerson was so combative.
“We’re trying to sit down and work through this,” she said.
Rogerson said Kirkwood wasn’t trying to work through it because of her previous statement that the city hall office was a two-person office.
“What number were you when you worked here?” Rogerson said. “You were three or two and a half.”
Kirkwood was paid for working on the town newsletter in the past. Rogerson said the office wasn’t two-persons at that time and Kirkwood said yes. Rogerson also pointed out that Kirkwood had said that only the office people were the ones who shouldn’t have overtime.
“One of my concerns is that it seems to me that our employee costs are out of control,” Kirkwood said.”
Councilor Ralph Schnoebelen said he isn’t sure where Kirkwood is coming from.
“You keep going on and on,” Schnoebelen said. “That’s why I get tired of the council meetings. That’s why I didn’t want to come to the work session. We don’t get anything accomplished. We just keep going on and on. I wish we’d pull together to try to get something done.”
The discussion ended without any real resolution.