Chrisman nixes city job

Chrisman City Council votes to eliminate public works supervisor position from roster

By GARY HENRY ghenry@prairiepress.net
Posted 1/11/21

CHRISMAN — Following a 40-minute executive session, the Chrisman City Council made a change to the employee organization Monday, Jan. 4.

Council members voted to eliminate the public works …

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Chrisman nixes city job

Chrisman City Council votes to eliminate public works supervisor position from roster

Posted

CHRISMAN — Following a 40-minute executive session, the Chrisman City Council made a change to the employee organization Monday, Jan. 4.

Council members voted to eliminate the public works supervisor position after a little more than a year of existence. Thad Arrasmith was hired in December 2019 for the job. He was retained after the council eliminated the position Monday and transferred as an employee of the city’s sewer department.

The rest of the meeting moved quickly. Discussion regarding the hiring of a licensed operator or a water laborer ended when a city employee declined to take the laborer position which came with a requirement the employee also work toward obtaining a water operator license.

“That settles it,” said water commissioner Rodney Wolfe. “I’m going to look for a water operator.”

It was announced in December the current water plant operator was resigning for health issues, prompting the need to find a replacement.

Commissioner Thad Crispin’s efforts to use an old state grant to replace a demolished pavilion in Centennial Park took an unusual turn.

“Nobody bid,” said Crispin.

He told the other council members the city’s engineering firm, Fehr Graham Environmental, managed to secure an extension of the grant so it did not expire. Crispin plans to call several builders as a way of encouraging participation in the next bidding.

The council decided to sell a small parcel of property in the pasture near the water building on Washington Street. Wolfe said the 625-square-foot property was purchased years ago when the city was looking for new wells. The plan was to drill a test well on the site.

According to Wolfe, the operation did not prove out and there is no well in the tiny parcel.

“We need to put it up for sale,” said Wolfe. “It’s not doing us a bit of good.”

City clerk Dena Burns said after passing the motion to sell, the city also needs a resolution and ordinance to that effect. She was instructed to contact city attorney Robert Morris and have the necessary documents ready for action at the Jan. 19 city meeting.

Burns reported obtaining a $10,000 title insurance policy for the property at 121 South Illinois. Morris requested the policy before completing the deeds and other documents needed for the current owners to give the property to the city. The lot has a derelict house the city wants demolished, and the current owner wants to give the ground to the city to avoid a tax liability and demolition expense.

The council also discussed opening the city office again, which has been closed to the public as a COVID-19 preventative measure.

“My main concern is things are getting done,” said Crispin.

Burns said all of the city

work is completed. She and treasurer Brittaney Ford alternate days so clerical staff is available to answer the phones and take questions. When not in the office, they work from home. A variety of forms, such as building permit applications, are kept in the foyer for residents to use.

“It’s not as ideal as being in the office, but we can get the work done from home,” Burns said.

Commissioner Cory Chaney reported fielding requests from residents to have the office open.

“We can do that, but if they get sick (Burns and Ford), we’re done,” said Mayor Dan Owen.

Chaney deferred opening the office at this time but wanted the matter on the Jan. 19 agenda for more discussion.