AND EMPLOYEE HEARING
July 28, 2015
CITY OF HURSTBOURNE
304 WHITTINGTON PARKWAY / SUITE 100
Mayor Mary Schneider called the meeting to order.
C.A.O. Leidgen conducted the roll call. A quorum of the Commission was present.
Present: Mary Schneider, Mayor
Earl Hubbuch, Commissioner
Rusty Wells, Commissioner
Lois Wagner, Commissioner
Others John Singler, City Attorney
Present: Bill Bennett, City Treasurer
Faye Tanner, Recording Secretary
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Mayor Schneider.
RECOGNITION OF GUESTS
Mr. Norb Hancock of 9503 Wessex Place spoke of the problems that residents of Wessex Place have in turning left onto Hurstbourne Parkway from the condominium complex. He was concerned for the safety of their residents, and asked the Commission for any assistance they can give in getting the speed limit reduced in that area. He was given the names of state officials to contact, and it was also suggested he contact Metro Councilwoman Marilyn Parker.
Attorney Singler explained that a grievance has been filed and there has been no resolution. Employee, Victoria Lemke has asked for a hearing in open session according to KRS 61.810(1) (f) to discuss the Commission’s recent decision to redefine her position (administrative assistant) which would result in a decrease in her earnings. In her presentation Mrs. Lemke presented a list of cities in Jefferson County and other cities in Kentucky with similar size and population, and also a Kentucky League of Cities salary range for positions similar to hers in those cities. She also presented a list of accomplishments since she started in her position four years ago.
The following individuals spoke on Mrs. Lemke’s behalf:
- Andrea Hanlon, Horticulturist for the City, said she has worked very closely with Mrs. Lemke for the last four years, and stated that she presents a very positive and professional image for the City. She is quick to respond and handles all landscaping matters in a timely manner.
- Ed Dahlem, former Hurstbourne City Commissioner, provided the history for when Mrs. Lemke was initially hired. He said it was obvious at that time the City needed a full-time Administrative Assistant and not a part-time Receptionist. She was told that her job was to be able to do everything the C.A.O. does when necessary. Although she was to be paid on an hourly basis, she was to receive all benefits given to a full-time employee. He said he felt the City had a verbal contract with her and the present Commission is welshing on that contract, and he asked them to reconsider their actions. Later in the meeting Mr. Dahlem said for some unknown reason, when Mrs. Lemke was hired she was to be paid on an hourly basis. He said the current situation would never have come up if she had been placed on a salary at that time. He asked the Commission to not consider any proposed compromise, but to reinstate her at her current salary.
- Trisha Sikkema, the City’s contracted Accountant, asked the Commission to be open-minded and gave her perspective on the day-to-day operation of City Hall. She said the question to be asked is, “How can we best serve the residents?” She said the decision to redefine the administrative assistant position could negatively affect the operation of the office, and she was concerned about the residual fallout. The possibility of fraud has been addressed through office procedures, and it has worked properly through what Mrs. Sikkema described as a “three-legged stool”, with each of the three individuals having segregated duties, which creates a good internal control environment. They have been as transparent as possible, with open records and a paper trail, and the system has worked and they have received excellent reviews from the auditor. The segregation of duties not only protects the City but each of the three in the office who handle funds. She described Mrs. Lemke as a professional with exceptional customer skills who is also very honest. The office would be in chaos if Mrs. Lemke opts to leave her position, and there would be a significant drop in customer service. She asked the Commission to give the office staff the tools to be, as those who founded the City envisioned, the best planned community in the whole State of Kentucky, and to reward Mrs. Lemke appropriately for her role in helping to implement that endeavor.
- Andre Lemke asked the Commission if they have heard anything which would give them pause. Commissioner Wagner responded that she was open to hearing all of the statements, and she may not have been aware of all details when she made her decision regarding this matter. Mr. Lemke asked Mayor Schneider and C.A.O. Leidgen about the value that is placed on one’s assistant. Mayor Schneider responded that it is important to have quality people who are good communicators, trust-worthy, and who take initiative. C.A.O. Leidgen explained that his management style involves training to develop highly skilled support staff that can perform many functions and to reward them for performance. He further stated that things could suffer if he is bogged down with many of the details that are currently handled by Mrs. Lemke. To a question from Mr. Lemke, Commissioner Jackson stated that the new Commission decided the operation of the City wasn’t necessarily going to be done as it has been in the past. He reiterated that this was not a personal matter referring to an individual, but a redefinition of a position. Mr. Lemke stated that it does appear this has been directed at a single individual. To a question from Mr. Lemke, Mr. Leidgen said he did not agree with the change in the administrative assistant position. He said he performs many functions, holds many positions for the City and Mrs. Lemke does a stellar job as his assistant. He also stated that the difference in pay is minimal compared to the value she provides. He asked the Commission to reconsider their position on this matter. Mr. Lemke also asked the Commission to at least consider a compromise position.
- Mr. David Buchanan, past president of the Oxmoor Woods Residents’ Association, said Mrs. Lemke and C.A.O. Leidgen work well together. He commented that the City has spent and continues to spend a great deal of money for the signature entrances. He said Mrs. Lemke is another signature entrance to the City, the voice that residents hear on the phone and in the office. He said this is an opportunity to reclassify her position upward, letting her take on more jobs to lighten the C.A.O.’s load, which would be even more valuable to the City.
- Mr. Norb Hancock said from the standpoint of the residents and the community, Mrs. Lemke is a class act who does everything that is asked of her. He asked the Commission to look at another way to solve this issue.
In closing comments, Mrs. Lemke said when she started her position in 2011 her predecessor was making $17.45 an hour and had the title of Receptionist. Had that individual stayed in that position she would be earning $19.92 an hour today based on the annual percentage increase she has been offered. She therefore made a proposal that her new rate be $19.92 an hour at 1950 hours annually. She also offered to remove her husband from the City’s health insurance plan. To a question from Commissioner Wagner, Mrs. Lemke said her initial pay was $20.00 an hour. Commissioner Wagner said when the discussion was held about this position, she understood that Mrs. Lemke’s salary would be more than she was originally making.
Commissioner Jackson thanked everyone for their time and comments, but emphasized again that this was not a personal decision but a redefinition of a position and also a redefinition of the compensation to market value rates today. Four years ago the Commission redefined the position from part-time to full-time, which they had the right to do. A few months ago the present Commission redefined the position to be part-time. They looked at the position as a seven-hour-a-day position with an hour for lunch. This change will not impact the individual’s qualification for the state retirement program or health benefits.
Attorney Singler explained that the Commission has a choice to make under KRS 61.810(1)(j) and they could go into executive session to deliberate, but any decision must be made in open session. Commissioner Wells said he would like more time to consider the proposed compromise and to determine the total compensation package. After discussion, Commissioner Wells made the motion to continue this hearing until the next Commission meeting when they could further study the counter proposal and the total compensation package including all benefits. His motion was seconded by Mayor Schneider; motion carried. Attorney Singler cautioned the Commission that this information will be compiled and it will be presented at the hearing, and additional information gathering or conversation should be limited until that hearing.
After a short break the Commission resumed with the Regular Meeting Agenda.
Mayor Schneider had to leave for a prior commitment and Commissioner Hubbuch presided over the regular meeting as Mayor Pro Tem.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
After a few corrections were made to the July 14, 2015 Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Commission, Commissioner Jackson made the motion to approve those minutes as corrected; his motion was seconded by Commissioner Wells. Motion carried.
TREASURER’S REPORT – Treasurer Bennett
ATTORNEY’S REPORT – Attorney Singler
CITY ENGINEER’S REPORT – Engineer Crumpton
ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT – C.A.O. Leidgen
C.A.O. Leidgen presented the Service Request–Call Traffic Log.
MAYOR’S REPORT – Mayor Schneider
PUBLIC WORKS REPORT – Commissioner Wells
Commissioner Wells reported that pot holes are being repaired.
The City picnic will be held on Sunday, September 20.
Commissioner Wells reported he had met with residents affected by the recent flooding throughout the city to get a better understanding of water flow routes. He then made the motion that an Ad Hoc Committee be formed and be entitled Hurstbourne Storm water Advisory Committee. The City of Hurstbourne representatives on the Committee are to be Mayor Schneider C.A.O. Leidgen, City Attorney John Singler and Engineer Chris Crumpton. He also stated that representatives of the Hurstbourne Country Club, Blairwood Club, Jefferson Development, Tier-Reit, Blairwood Apartments, and several Hurstbourne residents would be invited to serve on the Advisory Committee. Commissioner Wells’ motion was seconded by Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Hubbuch; motion carried.
Engineer Crumpton has begun work on the paving specifications for publication in the newspaper.
Mr. Crumpton will also receive quotes for the sidewalk extension at Lowe Elementary School.
They will be proceeding to get quotes for the ADA Sidewalks Project, but they will cap that at $20,000 since Louisville Metro will be providing $10,000. They also will get quotes for other sidewalk repair.
Work will begin on the Linn Station/Hurstbourne Parkway entrance after the final approval which is expected some time in August. There was discussion about the final construction design to be used at this location.
PUBLIC SAFETY REPORT – Commissioner Hubbuch
CODE ENFORCEMENT/SANITATION REPORT – Commissioner Wagner
GENERAL GOVERNMENT REPORT – Commissioner Jackson
Commissioner Jackson reiterated that C.A.O. Leidgen will prepare the information that is required for the continuation of the Employee Hearing.
At 6:30 p.m. Commissioner Jackson made the motion to adjourn; his motion was seconded by Commissioner Wells. Motion carried.