ILWACO — For the first time in three months, the Ilwaco City Council was a full board as councilors Don Berger and Butch Smith took their seats at Monday night’s meeting. 

As the two new councilmen looked on, Mayor Mike Cassinelli also appointed Ron Willis and Dave Johnson to the Planning Commission that night, leaving one vacant seat left to fill.  

Cassinelli presented the council with the first business item of the night, an ordinance and resolution establishing vehicle weight limits and regulation of large motor vehicles. 

The resolution requires persons who reside in the city limits and operate or own tractors or combination vehicles to obtain an Overload Vehicle Commuter Route Permit at a fee of $100 per year. 

The ordinance states that the permit is required to operate any vehicle weighing in excess of 10,000 pounds on a city street or alley. Overweight vehicles would be allowed to operate on the following streets without a permit: on Elizabeth Avenue from Spruce to Howerton streets; Howerton Avenue; South First Street.

Vehicles exempt from the law include: vehicles owned and operated by government agencies, public utility companies and associated contracted services, solid waste disposal companies, and public and private mail services; public and private emergency vehicles; public transportation and school buses; vehicles transporting perishable goods or commodities to locations within the city for local delivery; recreational vehicles; and construction and local delivery vehicles travelling through the city with planned stops for delivering, receiving or exchanging of goods, materials or equipment.

The resolution and ordinance were approved.

Councilors later discussed adherence to the city’s personnel pay policy and personnel nepotism policy. Of specific debate was an instance where a city employee is temporarily moved to a higher position and pay grade, and whether the employee’s pay should resume at its original level once the temporary stint is done. 

Jensen advised that the city adhere to its personnel policy and put the employee back in his or her original pay grade. 

Smith said that in his past experience as a councilman, he understood that it should be made clear to the employee that the pay increase would be temporary.

They also addressed adherence to the city’s nepotism policy, which came to light when Jensen says a former mayor hired an employee’s son-in-law for a position that was not advertised. He said the council objected to the hire at the time, but the council doesn’t have the authority to hire or fire employees.

In the case of the son-in-law and father-in-law currently working for the city, Marshall proposed that all personnel actions regarding the junior employee — such as vacation approvals, promotions, pay step upgrades and evaluations — be brought in front of the city council via the council’s Personnel Committee.

After extensive discussion, the motion failed, with Marshall and Smith voting “aye,” and Gary Forner, Berger and Jensen voting “nay.” Marshall advised the rest of the council to prepare another proposal to bring forth at a future meeting.

During public comment, Ed Green, of the Ilwaco Charter Association, asked the council to consider donating $1,000 to promote their fishing derby.

The council approved a resolution establishing electronic banking authority, which allows the mayor to sign off on payroll direct deposit checks via computer. They also discussed business license fees; the consultant selection process for the School Street reconstruction project; and an estimate for an unbudgeted chip seal project for some areas in Vandalia. Mayor Cassinelli also read proclamations for EMS Week and Relay for Life’s Paint the Town Purple event in June.

 

Personnel discussion

Cassinelli said the junior employee has a commercial driver’s license, a Class 1 Water Operator certification, Class 1 Wastewater Treatment Operator certification, and it working towards Class 2 Wastewater Treatment Operator certification.

Jensen said that by putting two family members in this situation would be of no real benefit to the city. He noted that the city already has a law prohibiting nepotism and, unless the council disagrees with it, the law should be followed. 

“It’s about policy,” he explained. “How does the City of Ilwaco operate?”

Smith suggested that since Ilwaco is a small town where one can’t always avoid working with some sort of relative, that the policy state that an employee can’t work directly under another family member. He added that it might be beneficial for the mayor to conduct six-month performance reviews to ensure that the younger employee is performing as expected.

Berger, who noted that it’s the mayor’s job to hire and fire, said it really would depend on if the workers are good employees, but if the exception is abused, then the mayor should take action. Jensen later asked how the mayor knows the work is being done properly if the evaluations are being compiled by the employee’s father-in-law.

With the younger employee already having been hired, Smith said it wouldn’t be right to fire him, but that he should be watched differently due to the fact that his father-in-law is his supervisor.  

In the case of the son-in-law and father-in-law currently working for the city, Marshall proposed that all personnel actions regarding the junior employee — such as vacation approvals, promotions, pay step upgrades and evaluations — be brought in front of the city council via the council’s Personnel Committee.

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