By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Parsons City Council debate heated up during the meeting when members begin discussing the recent advertisement for the position of a new City Treasurer. Councilman Tim Turner started the conversation that questioned why the personnel committee did not bring the city treasurer job description back to the council for review as it was motioned and approved at a prior meeting on August 2, 2022.
During the August 2, 2022, meeting under unfinished business on the agenda Turner requested an item be added to consider the posting of the City Administrator/Treasurer position. Councilman Bruce Kolsun said, “This should be referred to the personnel committee.” The personnel committee consists of Mayor Dorothy Judy, Kolsun, and Dave Greenlief. Turner pointed out that the consideration was referred to the Personnel Committee at the last council meeting because it was stated that the committee would meet before the next council meeting.
Mayor Judy said, “We met but not for this reason. Jason was kind of waiting for August.” to which Myers replied, “No, not for this.” Kolsun entertained a motion to have to have the item referred to the personnel committee with Greenlief seconding it but during the voting the no votes were overlooked, and Turner stopthe mayor from proceeding to the next item on the agenda.
The council members that voted no were Kathy DiBacco, Melissa Jones, James “Sam” Humphrey, and Turner. The motion did not carry with a four to three vote against. Humphrey said, “I opposed because we need to get this fixed.” Kolsun said, “That is why we refer it to the personnel committee so they can figure it out.” Jones said, “But that is what I do not understand, we already made the motion last time,” to which Kolsun said, “It was not official. I thought it was too, but it is on the agenda again.” Humphrey asked, “So with it being official this time does that mean you will come back with something next meeting.” To which the mayor replied, “We will not have someone to hire but yes, we can do that.”
Jones said, “But I thought we put it on the thing for you all to come back with your description of how you wanted it handled and if you wanted one jobs or two jobs.” Mayor Judy answered by saying, “He has been working on job descriptions.” And Kolsun stated yet again, “That is why we refer it to the committee.” DiBacco asked, “Who is working on the job description?” Mayor Judy answered that the committee was and Kolsun was heading that up.
Humphrey asked if the position was one or two positions. Kolsun answered stating the position was one right now, but they were working towards breaking it into two positions. Turner proposed a vote to spilt the position into two separate positions. Kolsun interjected for the third time saying, “That is why the personnel committee handles that.”
Jones suggested to Turner to make his motion saying, “How about making your motion that we send it to their committee to bring back to us at next meeting the two different descriptions that we are setting forth to them for two different jobs.” Kolsun said, “That has been the plan initially.” To which Jones responded with, “Nothing has been yet.” Kolsun responded by saying, “To say nothing has been done is asinine. It is not complete. We have already done this. This is why I do not understand.”
Turner then entered his motion for the personnel committee to come back at the next meeting with duties and responsibilities for City Administrator and a separate Treasurer. Jones seconded the motion. The motion carried with an all-in favor vote.
During the September 6, 2022, meeting interim City Administrator Agnes Arnold was motioned by Kolsun of the personnel committee to be promoted to the role of City Administrator. The motion was seconded by Humphrey and the motion carried unanimously.
So, when Turner questioned about why the job description was not presented to the council before it was posted a heated debate started as to why Turner and fellow council members felt this was necessary. Turner said, “On August 2 there was a motion to send the treasurer job description to the personnel committee and then return it the next meeting with the job description for our approval and I see the job is posted but the council did not approve it.” Kolsun said, “Council does not need to approve it.” Jones said, “But in his (Turner’s) motion I had explained to him that we needed to have it come to council in case there were things we wanted to add to it. Like my personal preference is that the person lives in the county.” Judy responded with, “We are having a hard enough time finding someone without putting restrictions on it.” Turner then said, “This is the thing, there was a vote of four to three so are you making a decision to override the majority of the council members?” Judy responded and said, “I thought you wanted it advertised.” Turner said, “We wanted it brought to council so we could look it over and that did not happen.” Judy said, “We put it out for you to look over.” Turner responded, “We did not see it. It did not happen Dorothy.” Judy then asked Arnold if it was emailed to everyone, and Arnold stated that it had not been emailed to anyone.
When Judy attempted to move on to the next item on the agenda, Turner stopped her and said that the council needed to discuss the issue at hand first. Turner said, “I think we need to address this issue. The job posting has going to have to be pulled.” Kolsun asked, “So you want to re-write it? The personnel committee was given the right to write a job description. And I wrote the job description and if we take it to council and they tear it apart.” Jones added by saying, “Tim (Auvil) has not been able to see the advertisement because he does not have Facebook and he may not be able to see the advertisement until it comes out in the Advocate and there may be something he wants to add to it.”
Kolsun asked, “Why do we need to add something when the personnel committee is given things to add and make the job description? It is not necessary to add anything. We do it and then give it to council to tear it apart. Just give it to council to write it.” Jones reminded Kolsun of the vote for the personnel committee to write the advertisement and present it to the council.
When Judy asked what did the council want to add to it Turner responded, “We do not know we have not seen it. You can not continue to post something the council did not vote on.” Humphrey then asked, “So whenever we get two or three applicants for this job who does the interviewing?” Judy responded, “You will be lucky to get any.” Kolsun answered Humphrey’s question with, “The personnel committee.”
Humphrey then said, “Before they are hired, they have to be approved by us, correct?” Kolsun answered by saying, “We (personnel committee) recommend the person to you, yes. And you approve it or deny it.” Turner added, “And the person on the personnel committee can not vote.” Judy responded, “Oh bull, where do you get all these rules from Tim?” Turner asked, “How could you vote if you sit in the interviews? It is a conflict of interest.” To which Judy asked again where did Turner come up with this.
Even though Kolsun tried to move on, the council pushed for more answers. Humphrey asked for a copy of the job posting so the council could read the advertisement. Jones said, “The only thing I have to say to this is that I myself believe that advertisement should not have gone on Facebook until after the council had looked at it or before the council had known about it.” Judy said, “We put a lot things on Facebook before you all know about it.”
DiBacco who had remained quiet until this point said, “We voted on it in a meeting to come back to council then it should have come back to council. So, that is the issue.” Kolsun responded with, “You told the personnel committee to write it up. That is what the personnel committee is for, to write a job description not to come back to council and then have to re-write it again and re-write again.” DiBacco said, “But we voted to have it come back to us.” Kolsun said, “I do not remember that vote.” Turner then said, “You remember that vote very well, you can buffalo some people.” Kolsun said, “Do not tell me what I can remember.”
Acting City Treasurer Jason Myers then spoke up and said, “If I remember right a motion was made on an item that was not even on the agenda. So, I do not know if that motion was even valid.” Jones said, “No, it was on the agenda.”
After reviewing the job description advertisement Jones said, “I would like to see that first time advertising this that it goes out with the individual needs to preside in the Tucker County.” Kolsun said, “I do not think that is necessary.” Judy responded with, “You can put all the restrictions you want but it going to be hard to find someone anyway.” Jones reminded the Mayor that the previous advertisements were for two positions not one and said, “If all else fails when we do not get any applicants from in county residents, we can pull that off the advertisement and we can run it again.” Greenlief said, “It will be discriminating if you do that.”
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website at www.eeoc.gov, “It is illegal for an employer to publish a job advertisement that shows a preference for or discourages someone from applying for a job because of his or her race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. For example, a help-wanted ad that seeks “females” or “recent college graduates” may discourage men and people over 40 from applying and may violate the law.” It does not state anywhere that is illegal or discriminatory to include the applicant should reside or be willing to re-locate in a certain area in order to be eligible for a job position. Police departments are an example that do it on a regular basis for new hires.
After discussing the grant awarded to Parsons for the demolition fund, Turner said, “I still think the personnel committee needs to look into hiring a part-time person to help Aggie and Misti because if one of them gets sick.” Judy interrupted Turner and said, “For God’s sake give it a break.” Arnold said, “We do have Danelle working with the baby. She is not here in presence.” Turner finished his prior statement by saying, “If one of you gets sick, we should have a part-time person here to help but I guess that is for another committee.”
Myers then said, “I have a question and I really do not give a rat’s who gets offended by this because I can walk away at any time. Why in the world is there so much scrutiny on the treasury job when we can hire a municipal judge and there is nothing said, we can hire someone for the Wellness Center, and nothing is said; why is there so much scrutiny? Do you all want me to leave and walk away? I will do it tonight. I do not care. I am there as a favor to everybody there. You all do not want me there and you want to put restrictions there and you do not want to put someone outside the county there. Folks you are not offending me. I have a full-time job and I am glad I walked away.”
Jones responded with, “Jason it’s nothing against you. We want to put someone in here that we can be trustworthy of and try to fulfill your shoes. That is the only reason I am up about it because we need someone in here that can step in.”
Myers came back with, “I feel like I am not wanted. I have Tim Turner jumping at me and it just seems like everybody is against me. I can walk away tonight because I have no problem doing so.” Humphrey added, “Jason it is like I told you a long time ago. You have been here for 20 years, and you have done a wonderful job in 20 years. But you gave up on us 15 months ago.” To which everyone in the room started raising their voices speaking and nothing could be understood. Humphrey finished by saying, “What I am saying is that we have to move forward. We are looking toward the future. Jason, I just wish you would come back.”
Jones said, “That is the reason we requested that job be spilt up into two positions.” Auvil added, “It is going to take two people to fill your (Myer’s) shoes.” Jones added to the conversation by saying, “We cannot get another Jason Myers at all. And there is too much to do in this office and the next person needs to be able to be flexible in the beginning and to work with you to learn everything. And it is going to take probably another year before they get the training under their belt.
Myers asked again why there was so much scrutiny and Kolsun said, “It is highly unnecessary.” Jones said, “It is because we need to find the right person.” DiBacco added, “Jason, I do not think we can compare your job to the Wellness Center person and a general laborer.” Kolsun was stating that was not what Jason was saying, DiBacco was saying yes it was when Judy yelled from the phone “Stop! We are not getting anywhere arguing. This is pointless!” At which point DiBacco said, “It is pointless!” and left the meeting.
Turner then said, “Jason, I am sorry if you think I am attacking you, but as we have talked before, you are in transition here. You are not going to be here permanently and yes; we need you to help the new person, but you are here temporary.” Humphrey said, “We need to find that person so he (Myers) can train them.” Auvil countered with, “If you do not run him (Myers) off in the meantime.”
Greenlief then requested to adjourn the meeting.
The next Parsons City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 20, 2022, at 6 p.m. located at the Charles W. “Bill” Rosenau Municipal Building, 341 Second Street. If you would like an item placed on the agenda, feel free to contact the Parsons Business Office at 304- 478-2311.