Employees demoted in close vote
Corry City Council voted to eliminate two supervisory positions in the city’s public works department at Monday’s Council meeting.
The two positions being eliminated are those of the streets department crew supervisor and the water department crew supervisor.
The two individuals will not lose their jobs, but they will lose their authority as supervisors.
The salary of the two supervisors will each be decreased by $1.25 per hour.
Public Works Superintendent Terry Williams said she was not aware that this was going to be brought up by Council at Monday’s meeting.
Mayor Charlie Campbell brought the issue up for discussion at the meeting.
“I think restructuring needs to happen,” Campbell said. “We're not getting enough production out of supervisors."
Councilman Steve Bresler also said the structure of the department needed to be changed.
“When Ms. Williams became head of all three departments, it was our intent to combine three departments into one and we realized it could be a lot on her," he said.
He added that he did not necessarily want to change her position but how the department is structured.
"I don't think the structure is working in the most efficient way possible," Bresler said.
Council members Taree Hamilton, Steve Bresler and Campbell voted in favor of eliminating the positions and Steve Drake and Alex Gernovich voted against it.
The effective date of the change has not yet been set.
Gernovich disagreed with the decision to cut the positions.
“I don’t agree with the decision and I voted against it,” he said. “We have a city manager starting in a couple weeks and any change to the structure of how we run this city should be made with his input and consideration. I believe the decision was imprudent and creates more problems than necessary.”
Gernovich further said it appears it was spur-of-the-moment, and that it took away structure without replacing it with anything.
Bresler said crews will now report directly to Williams, but it doesn’t mean that can’t change in the future.
He also said that voting without consulting the new city manager does not imply that he doesn’t have confidence in him.
Drake said the issue being up for vote came as a surprise.
“I am disappointed the vote went the way it did,” he said. “This was obviously a pre-planned move that I was unaware of and was never privy to any discussion regarding this course of action.”
He also questioned the legality of the decision as he said it is part of the union labor contract.
Campbell said at the meeting he has spent three months studying the contract.
“Council created the position and has the authority to amend the contract,” Campbell said.
Drake also said the move does not benefit the city or city employees.
“Our job as Council members is to set in place and enforce policies that are for the betterment of both the citizens and the employees of Corry, and this decision did not benefit either group,” he said. “If there are changes to be made, it should be a larger group effort with input from the new city manager and the DPW superintendent as well.”
Although Hamilton voted in favor of the decision, she couldn't be reached for comment.