On Monday, the King City Council decided to wait until January to consider further upgrades to the city’s personnel policy. This delay led to a vigorous discussion later about classification of a police department position.
City employees and officials have been reviewing each section of the extensive personnel policy and proposing changes. The council plans to hold at least two meetings in January to work its way through the remainder of the policy and make final changes. While the original proposal was to meet sometime in December, Mayor Jack Warren pointed out that December is a busy month for people. The city has been working on the policy revisions for a year and a half, the mayor said.
“What’s another month?” he asked.
The council agreed to work on the plan in January.
During the general concerns portion of the meeting, council member Charles Allen asked Police Chief Paula May if a vacant detective slot had been filled. The chief said she had some internal applicants but that they were working to reclassify the position.
City Manager John Cater said he had planned to bring up her proposal at the December personnel policy meeting, but since that had been pushed back to January, he was not sure what would happen to the hiring timeline. He explained the chief’s concerns that if a person with a high rank gets the detective job, they could be downgraded a rank and pay grade. May suggested renaming the positions Detective 1 and Detective 2 so rank would not be lost.
The mayor asked how long the position had been vacant, and May said since early fall. Mayor Warren said he was of the opinion that if a department did not use a position, then they could lose it since they did not appear to need it. But he noted that there had been a number of break-ins in the city lately and that the department needed to get the position filled.
Council member Brian Carico questioned what applicants had been applying for if rank and salary were not included in the posting. Councilman Dillard Burnette said it seemed to him that the police department was trying to change the policy for one person. Councilman Wesley Carter upheld May’s concerns by stating that officers work hard to achieve their rank and do not typically take a demotion in rank.
After further discussion, the council told Chief May to begin the applicant testing and interview process and be ready to hire someone as soon as the council makes a final decision on the position classification in January.
Also during the meeting:
• Stephen James and Julienne Ratcliff spoke about the lawsuit against the city over the Christian flag. Ratcliff said she is sorry the flag is being used as a weapon again and that the division has got to stop. She said, “We Christians know that we have to fight for what we believe in.” James said, “I for one hope that you’ll fight it all the way.”
• Ann Nichols, librarian at King Public Library, and Joan Sherif, area supervisor, spoke about the accomplishments and activities at the King Library over the past year. In the 2011-12 year, circulation was 79,459 and public computer users numbered 26,688. The summer reading program was a success, and the employment lab is doing well. Nichols told the council members, “The support you provide is so appreciated.”
• Department heads introduced new employees: Matthew King, water plant operator, and Robbie Boles Jr., meter reader.