Working Meeting Minutes January 13, 2020
A WORKING MEETING OF THE OGLESBY CITY COUNCIL WAS HELD ON MONDAY, JANUARY 13, 2020 AT CITY HALL. THE MEETING WAS CALLED TO ORDER AT 7:00 P.M.
PRESENT: COMMISSIONERS ARGUBRIGHT, CULLINAN CURRAN, LIJEWSKI, MAYOR RIVARA, ATTORNEY JIM ANDREONI AND CITY CLERK EITUTIS.
Public comments on agenda items only: Drew Merriman addresses item #6 on the agenda in regards to the Police Department. He discusses the Fires & Police Board meeting he attended. He also states than an officer showed up and stated he was promised to be Sergeant. Merriman questions how frequently meetings are being held. Merriman asks who promised the patrolman he was going to be made Sergeant?
#5 -Home Rule is addressed in that it allows the city to use monies from hotel/motel tax. Mayor Rivara said it allows the city flexibility. He feels it should be discussed and wants input from the residents of the City.
#6-Mayor Rivara addresses issues within the police department and what can be done to make things better for the employees and the City. Mayor feels the meal time policies are a good idea, secondary employment is in the labor agreement and he does not understand the issue. Mayor Rivara feels there needs to be proper rest for the officers and that shifts need to be covered. Retiree medical insurance costs is addressed and stated that should they find full time employment they can get off the city’s insurance and save the city money. Drew Merriman asks if the age limit is 65? Mayor responds it is. Mayor Rivara gives an example of a retired employee. Mayor states there is no hidden agenda it is a cost savings to the city of $473.00 per month for single coverage.
Cullinan states that he and Chief Knoblauch had a discussion in regards to previous policy changes. He said he directed Chief to send an email in regards to meal time breaks, secondary employment has a glitch and the schedule will remain the same for now. Cullinan asks to have a schedule of everyone that is working which includes Chief Knoblauch. Argubright states this was asked to be done six months ago. Cullinan talks about secondary employment and that he didn’t read it earlier Cullinan and the Mayor feel it is dangerous to return to a shift too soon. Cullinan gives an example of Officer Duttlinger. Argubright questions working for another City. Cullinan feels there should be a time frame that the officers need to have off in between shifts. Mayor Rivara gives and example of what he feels is an unsafe. Argubright questions the Mayor. Mayor Rivara questions covering shifts. Cullinan suggests the guy working upstairs and can he pulled down to work the shifts? Mayor Rivara states the Cullinan is the Police Commissioner. Drew Merriman laughs from the audience Mayor Rivara bangs his gavel. Mayor Rivara addresses Drew Merriman and that he said nothing at the Fire & Police Board meeting. Drew Merriman questions why Brett Valle was at the Fire and Police Board meeting, Mayor Rivara tries to stop Drew Merriman twice. Drew Merirman states the Officer Duttlinger and Klinefelter were hired because they were friends of Chief Knoblauch. Merriman states the Officer Valle was hired as a favor to his father. Merriman continues to state his opinions on the hiring of officers. Cullinan states he spoke with Atty. Andreoni about the hiring process because he was unsure how to proceed and that he should have been told that when he took office. Curran addresses Cullinan about items on his handout. Curran states he and Argubright spoke and that maybe an addendum may be best to address issues. Cullinan discusses how things were handled when he was an officer. Mayor Rivara gives an example of the situation and how a decision is made in regards to who has to cover a shift. Cullinan states how it was handled when he was an officer. Curran questions the hiring list and asks if there is a possibility of part time officers. Lijewski stated that it was looked into prior to Officer Stone retiring. Cullinan states that he has conflicting information about whose responsibility it is to start the hiring process. Mayor Rivara states that he is under the impression that the current hiring list didn’t want to be used because of its age. Cullinan feels that the names on the list should be offered the position. Curran asks if the Fire and Police Board meet regularly? Cullinan said he thinks they do quarterly. Mayor Rivara asks Chief Knoblauch to come to the podium and shed some light on the issue. Chief Knoblauch states that after the meeting on 01/09/2020 Cullinan recommended merging the two lists together the secretary will call the attorney to get direction on how to do that. He states the next meeting is 01/20/2020. Chief Knoblauch gives the names: Matt Glupczynski, Curt Martin and senior member Don Shield and that they are independent board governed by state statute. The patrol list is good until September of this year and the Sergeant list is good until November 2021. Chief believes that a new list was wanting to be created based on the 01/13/2020 Police & Fire Board meeting. Curran asks if there are 2 different lists and are we looking to replace at a Sergeant level? Chief replies yes. Mayor asks if there has been a promotion to which Chief replies no. Chief states he believes the reason Brett Valle was here was because he was promised he was going to get promoted. Chief Knobluach said it was because of an e-mail from Cullinan to which he (Valle) was told that. Curran questions how many names are on each list? Drew Merriman questions Chief Knoblauch why Officer Mandujano has not been made a Sergeant? Chief replies he would have to ask the Fire and Police Board. Chief Knoblauch states the Board creates the list and are in charge. Argubright asks if Chief was here for the process? Chief replies he did not attend interviews or give any preference points. Curran asks if promoting from within is a possibility? Mayor Rivara asks how the rating is done? Chief replies there is an oral and written exam and the Chief can give 20 points to any officer, per state statue. Argubright asks Chief if he had any input to which Chief replies that did not give any preference points to anyone and that he chose to stay out of it. Chief said it is not mandatory to give points and he opted not to. Curran asks Chief about the status of a grant, a discussion between them is held. Mayor Rivara states that he is open to suggestions. Lijewski stated that several months ago it was decided that a mediator would be used (Gary Peterlin) to help with the issues and inquired about how that was going. Mayor and Cullinan stated he was going to come in but is currently on vacation. Curran states that an addendum may be helpful to the officers and the city and suggest part time officers. Mayor Rivara said a resolution needs to happen and the he wants the officers safe and is willing to take a look at issues and solve them. Mayor Rivara cites examples of his concerns (working alone/checking in). Drew Merriman addresses the Council in regards to the hiring list. Merriman states his opinion about the way Lijewski, Curran and Rivara went after Commissioner Cullinan at the last meeting. Chief Knoblauch states that he would remove himself from attending Fire & Police meetings. Mayor Rivara said he was glad the Chief attended because he gave direction and learned a lot from it. Lijewski said she would like to see item #6 off of the agenda because it has been on there since May and would like to move forward. Cullinan said he wants the Chief to put the policies back in place and if there is a problem, he will address it. Chief replies that he will send an e-mail tomorrow. Cullinan and the Chief discuss some of the issues. Chief Knoblauch and Cullinan agree the issue of the schedule needs to be clarified. Officer Padilla states that the schedule was submitted a while ago and that they had heard nothing and that is was assumed it would stay as is. Curran questions why the schedule is in the contract if no one likes it and it cannot be modified. Chief states that he agrees with Cullinan in regards to not enough in between schedules. A discussion is had amongst the Council members in regards to how to better the department. Officer Padilla replies that there were several issues to be addressed and that at this point the officers were going to wait until the contract expires. Mayor Rivara responds he’d be willing to do that assuming all parties agreed in order to avoid arbitration. Drew Merriman addresses the Council in regards to the Fire & Police Commission: he states his opinion about the hiring process of police officers. Argubright questions the Police & Fire Board documents being held at a residence. Mayor Rivara replies that they are now at City Hall in a secure location. Tom Porter discusses the past practice of how the firing process happens within the Police Department. Tom Porter discusses the hiring lists and merging of the two lists. Porter states that the best way to hire an officer is to go off of the current list. He states that the Board is to be notified that there is a position to be filled and it is their job to do so. Commissioner Cullinan asks Porter about what his responsibilities are in the hiring process? Cullinan states that he is having a letter drawn up from Atty. Andreoni and does he have to have it presented to present it to the Council? Tom Porter states past practice has been to notify the Fire & Police Board. Cullinan said he was told the council has to vote on it.
#7-Curran explains the current state of the Walnut Street bridge and the failing beams. Curran also states that he went to the County and got approval for $500,000 on a long term maintenance plan. The solution will not happen for approximately four years. The temporary solution is to put out delineators which will shorten the width of the bridge but will allow for passing over it until repairs happen.
#8-Seneca Sqaure-Mayor states the bid came in at $1.5 million dollars and that the city does not have that kind of money. Rivara has talked to the contractor and NCICG to try and salvage as much of the $400,000 grant as possible. Mayor has talked to Senator Rezin as well about the grant/plans. Drew Merriman asks what dollar amount would be agreeable? Mayor replies that he cannot put a figure on the proposal but gives some ideas as to how to modify it. Drew Merriman offers suggestions as to how to save costs.
#9-Schmidt building- Argubright states he believes there is a bankruptcy lien on the building and if that is the case the City does not want to purchase it.
#10-façade program-Mayor states the city will math up to 50% of improvements and gives additional information about the grant. Argubright suggests adding an additional $5,000 to the current figures. Curran said that some of the issues are having to pay prevailing wage and that limits businesses from participating.
#11-Canoe landing-Argubright says the forms are ready to be sent in. Argubright is waiting for a form from the State.
#13-Communication Hazard and Outage Plan-Curran discusses the details of the plan. Curran discusses authority levels Curran states that the Mayor has input on events. Argubright states that authority is now taken away from the commissioners to which Curran replies no. Curran gives examples of how the plan would work. Mayor Rivara interjects that he made a decision in regards to Halloween and that he did not discuss it with Commissioner Cullinan and that he should have. Melanie Cullinan states that Mayor’s phone call was inappropriate to her husband. Curran continues discussing the plan and how it is designed to work. Curran questions whether a motion is needed or the plan has to be placed on the agenda. Mr. Eattoni states that he will look into the correct way to adopt the plan.
#12-Economic Developer- Mayor Rivara states that the city is looking to hire a developer and grant writer to help develop Oglesby. Rivara gives an example of a grant that was missed out on in regards to sidewalk repair. Drew Merriman suggests a person …. Mayor states that he has spoken to two people in regards to the position.
#14-Goal Setting-Lijewski states that she would like to a list of goals to be achieved as a Council. Lijewski states that one of her goals was the accounting system the ambulance department uses and it is in the process of being switched over. Argubright and Curran give comments. Lijewski would like to see the city in a better place and make a difference. Curran agrees with Lijewski about goals to achieve and the communication between the council.
#15-Old Business- Curran discusses the salt building (pictures are handed out to the Council). He states that his biggest concern is that the city odes not own the building. Curran discusses issues in the pictures presented. Argubright questions the pictures and issues in regards to the building.
Argubright states his concern is leaving the city in a better financial state. Curran gives further explanation as to his reasons for wanting the salt storage building.
Amy Stone questions the issue of police overtime. Mrs. Stone suggest the Police Chief assist in covering shifts. Mayor Rivara thanks her for her suggestion. Melanie Cullinan states that she also works where her supervisor also fills in when needed.
Officer Padilla stresses the importance of getting another officer hired quickly as he believes another officer will be leaving the department in March. Padilla suggests going off of the current list the department has. Commissioner Cullinan states that he has to send a letter to the Fire & Police Board asking them to start the process. The Board is scheduled to meet on 01/20/2020. A discussion is held in regards to the officer who may be leaving in March. Commissioner Cullinan states that merging the list will take longer and that the people on the current list should be asked first.
Tom Porter addresses the meaning of a working meeting. Commissioner Curran states he believes that actions can be taken at working meeting. Tom Porter states there is no such thing as a working meeting, it is a special meeting.
A MOTION TO ADJOURN WAS MADE by LIJEWSKI, SECONDED BY ARGUBRIGHT. AYES: ARGUBRIGHT, CULLINAN, CURRAN, RIVARA.
Amy Eitutis, City Clerk.