Department head attendance not mandatory

BOURBON — It was determined at the March meeting of the Bourbon Town Council that town department heads’ attendance to the monthly meetings is not mandatory.
The fact was decided upon after town employees asked for reimbursement for attending the meetings — meetings that they must give a departmental report during. Bourbon Town Council President Les McFarland and member Larry Wattenbarger concluded that they did not feel the employees should be compensated for attending as — as Wattenbarger put it — “it was part of the job.”
“I’m in agreement to that, that department heads have the meeting as an extra responsibility agreed upon when accepting the position,” McFarland said. “Being present however is not mandatory.”
He explained that (water, wastewater, street, zoning/ordinance and police) department heads could instead provide a “written, legible report” to be addressed by the council during the meeting which should include activity that took place in the 30 days prior to the scheduled monthly meeting, and a 30-day projected outlook for the department, including any concerns or questions they might have, and answers for any questions town officials may have asked them about previously.
Clerk-treasurer Kim Berger also voiced the opinion to decline to pay employees for their attendance. Water Superintendent Mike Shoda said he would rather attend than have to wait for approval for larger projects. “If I have a price quote, then I need to know (if the project or purchase is approved) so I can lock in that price,” he said.
Department heads agreed to the decision and were asked by President McFarland to sign a paper proving they agreed. “If you want to be here, be here,” he said. “You’re not being held hostage.”
The paper also says that if a department head is requested to personally be present, then they will be compensated by their regularly hourly wage or by taking the time acquired back during that workweek schedule, for the time they are present, with the council deciding which the department head will get.
Town attorney Mark Wagner did suggest that the meeting agenda place departmental reports at the beginning of the meeting so heads wouldn’t have to stay for the duration of the meeting should they choose not to.
In other business:
• Proposals from engineering firms interested in being involved in the future sidewalk project funded by the Safe Roads to School grant were considered, and filtered down to two companies.
• The town agreed to hire reserve officers Rick Kanarr and Matthew Haskins as full time police officers for The Town of Bourbon.
• Bourbon Police Chief Bill Martin asked if the town had an ordinance regarding house numbers to be placed on homes so emergency responders could more easily find addresses when called to a scene. After some discussion he was advised to see if the county had one in place or to contact the homeowners in town that did not have them and ask them to put visible numbers up.
Zoning/ordinance officer Bill Keyser said he knew of some homes in town with addresses on one street but with the house numbers facing the street on the other side of the building.
• Chief Martin was given approval to exchange larger “off duty” firearms for smaller ones for officers’ personal use.
• Wastewater superintendent Mike McFarland was given approval to purchase 165 feet of spare piping for anticipated repairs — not to exceed $350.
• A judgement was issued through the Marshall County courts that the property of James Eads on 12B Road is to be cleaned up by June 1.
• Ordinance 2011-4 regarding foliage blocking sight in town was passed on all three readings. The ordinance restricts replanting of trees and other foliage near or in any right of way of the town that might limit vision of drivers or pedestrians and also requires the trimming of existing trees and foliage that limit vision in the same way, by the owner of the lot.