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Wells deals with two staff resignations

By Staff | May 3, 2015

The Wells City Council met last Monday to discuss how to go about replacing not only a library director, but a chief of police, as well.

With the unexpected resignation of their library director, Sheila Treptow, and chief of police, Jim Rattelle, within the same week, the City Council discussed the department head resignation policy.

City administrator Robin Leslie brought this to the attention of the councilmembers with concern for future applicable situations.

After accepting both resignations and approved interim appointees by the City Council, Leslie suggested to the councilmembers changing the wording of their current department head resignation policy.

“Because we had two department heads resign on the same day, this is something that I’m wanting to look at,” says Leslie. “We need to get our personnel policies looked at to fix this.”

Leslie added she would like to establish an employment termination policy that says regular employees are to give two weeks notice while department heads would give one month’s notice, allowing the city to have more time to find a replacement and giving them the opportunity to help train a possible interim if needed.

“It’s because their jobs are more complex and they have more responsibilities,” stated Leslie. “We need more time to plan.”

Leslie insisted this did not apply to the resignations of Treptow and Ratelle, but to make sure that there is a policy in place for the future. She also mentioned that when planning for retirement, and not resignation, the person involved should be planning even further ahead than 30 days.

The council also discussed the verbage of “in good standing” regarding the resignation policy. Leslie explained that in order for an employee to receive any compensation for unused vacation time or any other comp time allotted, an employee would have to be within good terms, or have helped out as much as they could with their outgoing transition.

“I’ve also been in other cities where you give your resignation then take the rest of your vacation, and I don’t consider that within good standing. Giving two weeks notice then using up your vacation isn’t helping your current employers transition your job,” said. Leslie.

City councilwoman Whitney Warmka asked Leslie if the Council would be opening a can of worms by not defining what “in good standing” means in their policy.

Leslie recommended leaving the specifications of the terminology as open as possible so it could apply to more than one situation.

“Writing a policy that is too specific could leave something out of specific situations and create problems, but you could define it also; it’s up to the council,” said Lesie.

“You could have someone who comes in and gives their resignation in 30 days, but all they do for those 30 days is sit at their desk. You want someone who is actively helping with hires and things of that nature,” mentioned councilman John Herman.

The former policy only uses the terminology “proper notice” without specifics to what that time constraint was, the council unanimously approved to add the two weeks time for regular employees and 30 days for department heads.

In other business:

With the absence of Mayor Ron Gaines this week, council member Herman filled his temporary shoes by leading the meeting. Herman’s first order of business was proclaiming May 10-16 as “Homes for the Aging” week.

The council approved a conditional use permit to WFP Land LLC to operate a meat finishing business at 115 N. Broadway in Wells.

United South Central School District was permitted temporary operation for construction material-crushing equipment to begin demolition at the old school site.

The Heartland Chapter of Pheasants Forever was approved for a lawful gambling exempt permit to allow the raffle of a rifle.

The council authorized a part-time office clerk position and approved the description of the job for help in the city administrative office.

John Mosser’s dog declaration appeal from the last Wells City Council meeting was denied, and his dog, Mello, will be declared dangerous. Mosser will have to comply with the city’s regulations on keeping a dangerous dog.

Council members were asked to clarify the golf cart ordinance for the city, as the city has had trouble with golf cart drivers on public streets and in public parks when they should not be. Residents are asked to not use public streets, alleyways unless leaving where the golf cart is stored, or Half Moon Park.

In one final action, the Wells City Council moved their scheduled May 11 meeting to May 18.