The Ely Times

The Ely City Council via an agenda item asked for suggestions from city employees.

The council agreed to place a suggestion box where employees could place their suggestion anonymously in this box.

Several were turned in, and each suggestion was read aloud at the last city council meeting last week. There was no mention at the meeting that any action would be taken.

Some who submitted a suggestion noted that they were making these suggestions looking from the outside in.

Some suggestions were simple with the suggestion of the street department going to a four-day 10-hour shift to cut down on fuel and start up expenses where equipment is taken back and forth to a location.

Recycling was another suggestion that was on the list. The suggestion read “if the recycling plant is still not making money, then stop doing it or put it to a vote on a ballot to see if people want to pay to have it with an increase on the landfill bill.

“It is a great idea to recycle but the people of Ely should understand that it is a continuous draw on the city’s money and if the majority doesn’t want to pay for it, then it should stop.”

When asked what the next step regarding the suggestions, Councilwoman Jolene Gardner said, “We do need to do more with this and get out and talk to the people that work in these departments.”

A suggestion was made to going back to burning trees instead of running them through a wood chipper that has to be contracted out for its use, which is an added expense. But, is something like this still environmentally safe? Laws and rules and regulations with the Environmental Protection Act may have changed.

Other suggestions were a little more in depth such as re-evaluating the need for a full time legal department and the job duties and wages of the staff in this department.

A question rather than a suggestion was posed to why the legal department was over animal control?

It appeared as though a lot of suggestions seemed to circle around upper management, and the duplicasy of many jobs with the same duties.

A suggestion was also made to re-evaluate the need for a full time city attorney and city engineer, in addition to the city administrator’s position now that there is a full-time city treasurer.  In the past the city had a part-time city engineer.

One of the suggestions noted that years ago when the city had a part-time engineer this position held all water and sewer class 3 certifications,  which then eliminated the need to hire outside certifications.

It was also suggested that the deputy city clerk’s position be re-evaluated on job duties, including wages, since a full time treasurer has been hired.

There were two suggestions about lead men. One being that lead men need more authority and responsibility of the workers in their department, including discipline, work performance, scheduling, overtime, and general day to day operations.

Another suggestion made mention that there are a lot of lead men in charge of two people, the suggestion was for the city to find a qualified person to be in charge of multiple departments so that less time is taken from people that could be working.

Councilman Kurt Carson, who initially requested the suggestions from city employees said, “I thought some of the suggestions would be fixed quickly, but a lot of them have legality issues that are going to take more time, but I am going to keep working on each one of them.”

Carson mentioned that he hopes to put at least one suggestion as an agenda item for the upcoming city council meetings.