The Ely Times

At its meeting last Thursday, a quick discussion by the Ely City Council determined that a Treasurer’s position was more crucial than what Public Works Manager Bob Switzer recommended.

Councilman Kurt Carson requested that they open up all of the agenda items that pertained to this issue.

Recruitment for the treasurer position had resulted in two applicants who were not qualified, but it was noted that maybe there was a need to attempt to recruit again.  Councilwoman Jolene Gardner was mentioning that she wanted to see the city make a second attempt.

“That’s why I wanted to open it up, I didn’t know what path everybody wanted to go down,” Carson said. “I think the treasurer’s position is one of the more crucial things and it proved successful in one year. I think it would be a little more expensive to retain a public works person especially with the qualifications than a treasurer. Both are equally important but the treasurer is the way to go.”

Gardner noted putting the recruitment out for an additional month.

Councilman Ernie Flangas agreed with Carson that a treasurer was more important than a public works manager, especially with the new fiscal year beginning.

Councilman Tony DeFelice said, “I just want to add my comment here, and it’s one that has concerns, and that is a few years ago Bob was responsible for the treasurer’s position and finance and under your direction we’ve had some major problems, hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent, prior city council approved monies that they thought they had and they didn’t and consequently that’s what got us in the position we are in right now with finances. We need to look for someone with a good background.”

City Attorney, Chuck Odgers explained, “Can I make one suggestions based on my background in human resources? You might want to look at the salary range you are offering, it’s not competitive, you’re not going to get candidates.”

DeFelice said, “Maybe what we can do, and we have some time to think about this, we could come up with other salaries.

Carson added, “Could we post it as a determined on experience? Then we can come back to the table?”

Odgers said yes, but added the the ordinance lists a salary of $55,000.

Councilman Sam Hanson made a motion to continue to recruit and look at changing the ordinance that will allow the council to change the salary figure.  Carson seconded the motion. The vote was approved unanimously.

Local resident John Sanford stood up and spoke during public comment said “You hired him (pointing at Robert Switzer) at I think at $128,000 in wages and everything else, but if he can’t do his job why don’t we get rid of him and bring in someone who can do the job?”

Switzer immediately interjected, saying, “That’s because my job involves more than finance, and you have no idea what I do.”

Sanford responded, “I don’t. I honestly don’t, but this is my time to speak, why don’t you get rid of him and get somebody to do the job instead of originally trying to go back to taking these dump people and all these other people and get to the root of the problem and get rid of it?”