ILWACO — Nepotism was again the forefront of Ilwaco City Council business June 13, as Fred Marshall presented fellow councilors with a revised nepotism policy prepared by the mayor and the council’s personnel committee.

Adherence to the city’s nepotism policy came to light last month when councilors debated the circumstances in which a former mayor hired an employee to work directly under his own father-in-law.

Councilman David Jensen has said that a former mayor hired an employee’s son-in-law for a position that was not advertised, and though the council objected to the hire at the time, only the mayor has the authority to hire or fire employees.

Councilman Butch Smith noted that the council had the opportunity to address the issue before the mayor justified hiring the junior employee a few years ago and the city paid for his training and certifications. The councilman said he looked into the man’s employment and felt the employee is capable of the job, an asset to the city and has done everything that has been asked of him. 

Mayor Mike Cassinelli said that former mayor Doug Hubbard hired the junior employee as a backup water plant and sewer plant operator. Cassinelli also clarified that he writes up all of the city employee evaluations.

Jensen questioned why the city would have a policy on nepotism that includes an exception for a specific employee.

Marshall said the policy essentially states that the city recognizes that the relationship between the junior and senior employees is against its own policy, as well as shows the city’s effort to not allow the situation to happen again. He felt the policy would address the matter without punishing either of the employees.

The policy, which states that all actions of the junior employee would be brought before the city’s personnel committee, was approved three votes to two.

In other business, the council agreed on an engineering consultant selection process that utilizes the Municipal Research and Services Center’s small works roster.

Cassinelli also appointed Casey Harrell, Carole Karnofski, Vinessa Mulinix, Rick Schimelpfenig and Lisa Trudell to the Ilwaco Parks and Recreation Commission.

Amongst discussion items, the council considered a $1,000 donation from the lodging tax fund to the Ilwaco Charter Association for its fishing derby. 

Councilors also discussed obtaining funding a $35,000 chip-sealing road project in Vandalia. 

During public comment, Donna Rew reported that the Ilwaco Merchants Association is gathering donations to fund the professional fireworks show at the port on Saturday, July 2. With good support this year’s show should be outstanding as usual.

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum Executive Director Betsy Millard said Clamshell Railroad Day is scheduled for July 16 and 17, and will feature added attractions at the Long Beach train depot and the Long Beach Grange.

In his mayor’s report, Cassinelli announced that city council seat No. 4 is up for election this year. 

In council reports, Jensen expressed gratitude for the improvements made to the Black Lake Trail by Naselle Youth Camp and Department of Natural resources crews.

Smith reported that he is getting complaints about the RVs that are parked in the bait shop parking lot in downtown.

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