The City of Vandalia held its first monthly meeting on March 14 without recent outgoing City Administrator Chase Waggoner.
According to drafted meeting minutes, City of Vandalia employee Mike Smith talked to the group from an employee standpoint regarding the loss of a leader and the morale of employees. Smith reportedly mentioned employees who were injured in an accident the week before and the need for a leader to promote solidarity.
He also told the board that the city doesn’t need turmoil; the employees and the board need to be a united front.
Later in the meeting, aldermen unanimously approved a measure to contract the company “Interim Solutions” to help in hiring a retired city administrator to help out in the interim for three months.
Mayor Ralph Kuda said the department heads are helping out with the workload from the vacated City Administrator position.
During the discussion, Alderman John Weiser said he knew of a county commissioner and former city administrator who could help in the interim.
The person he referenced, Audrain County Eastern District Commissioner Alan Winders, was present for the meeting.
He said he would consider helping if that was the direction the board wanted to go in.
Mayor Kuda said there was interest in part-time employment during the application/interview stage last time, though the board agreed that they wanted a full-time employee.
During the Citizens to be Heard portion of the meeting, Commissioner Winders gave the group an update on the proposed roundabout issues for Highway 54/19. He said the ideas had a positive reception though the funding for the project has not been approved or proposed.
He also said there will be an update later regarding the Audrain County Jail expansion. Bids are now out for the project.
Approval of MIRMA Loss Control Policy Statement
Aldermen unanimously approved the MIRMA Loss Control Policy Statement. This policy is to be reviewed and approved every three years. It was last updated in May 2014.
Chief Water Plant Operator Darren Berry told the group that the agenda item would renew the loss control policy statement which satisfies an annually evaluated area by our liability carrier, MIRMA, while conveying the council’s commitment to safety to the staff. The safety committee reviewed the policy statement and made no changes to the previously adopted loss control policy.
The loss control policy statement communicates to managers, supervisors, and employees, management’s concerns for safety in the work place. It provides direction, expectations, and responsibilities relating to safety for all employees. It conveys a message to employees that safety is important in their operation.
A statement is a tool to make it easier for employees to follow safe work practices and for supervisors and managers to enforce them. The hopeful outcome is to reduce municipality and utility losses.
The February 14 meeting minutes and March 1 special meeting minutes were approved.
The February 2017 Accounts Payable were approved.
Berry told the group that there will be a hydrant flushing during the first week of April, which is a common practice. He said city crews will be hydrant flushing and will switch to free chlorine for the month.
Street Superintendent Dave Hamby updated the group on the playground equipment as the result of a citizen complaint during the February meeting. Photos were provided of the equipment, which is in need of refurbishing and will be completed when time and labor is available.
He also showed other park projects in his photos. He said last year that new roofs were put on the shelters in Daniels Park. A priority is to put ceilings in the shelters to protect the structure.
Alderman Doug Bontz provided written information regarding show rabbits in the city limits and hiring practices, which both may be discussed at a future meeting. He also complimented an officer from the Vandalia Police Department.