Pinedale Town Council approves $1200 ‘incentive payment’ for all Town employees
$18,000 to encourage employees to stay with the Town
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
December 16, 2010
After meeting in Executive Session at the end of their regular meeting on Monday, December 13, the Pinedale Town Council voted and approved to give a $1,200 incentive payment to each of the Town employees for 2010.
When asked by Pinedale Online what exactly this was for and if this was some kind of a bonus, Mayor Stephen Smith explained that it was a retention incentive, to encourage their employees to stay with the Town.
Pinedale Town Clerk, Patty Racich, later provided information about how many employees are currently with the Town: 15. This makes the incentive payment total cost $18,000.
When asked how many employees has the Town lost in the past year, we were told "one", in February 2010.
In the past couple of months, three Town employees in the Public Works department were given raises which increased their salaries by $5,700 to $7800 per year. One town employee who will also get the incentive payment makes $106,000 per year.
Below are salaries for current Town employees as of December 2010.
1. Eugene Ninnie, Engineer: $8,833.33/month ($106,000/year)
2. Patty Racich, Clerk/Treasurer: $6,797.79/month ($81,573/year)
3. Kate Grimes, Planning and Zoning Administrator: $5,123.33/month ($61,479/year)
4. Randy Hubbard, Public Works: 86,467.86/year* (he was given a raise in 2010 from his salary of $78,607/year)
5. Ron Hanson, Public Works: $6,550.60/month ($78,607/year)
6. Public Works: $62,811.55/Year (given a raise from $57,101/year)
7. Public Works: $54,135.12/year*
8. Public Works: $4,377.36/month ($52,528/year)*
9. Public Works:*
10. James Parker, Airport Manager: $5,922.32/month ($71,067/year)
11. Mayor’s Assistant: position vacation - 2/28/10
12. Jennifer Gocke, Municipal Code Officer: $3,979.42/month ($47,753/year)
13. Julie Early, Animal Control: $3,862.37/month ($46,348/year)
14. Chastity Marie Schumacher, Office Assistant: $3,795.17/month ($45,542/year)
15. Ruth Neely, Municipal Judge: $1,853.94/month ($22,247/year)
* Note: Either employee #7 or #8 was also given a raise in 2010. That salary data, along with the salary information for employee #9, was requested, but was not provided by the Town as of the time of posting this article. Position #11, the Mayor's Assistant, is currently vacant. The Town was given the opportunity to submit a clarification statement for their rationale for giving the retention incentive payment considering they have lost only one employee in the past year, however they did not provide anything by the time of our story posting.
In other business at this Town Council meeting:
1. Michael Kudar attended as his first meeting after being selected at a Special Meeting on Friday, December 10 from among a number of applicants to replace resigning Town Councilman, David Smith. Kudar was one of six applicants who applied.. Kudar officially tendered his resignation from the Pinedale Planning & Zoning Commission.
2. Mark Kinghorn, representing Saint Croix Seismic Co, presented information about a proposed two-dimensional seismic study within the Town limits to research oil and natural gas potential north and east of the boundaries of the present Pinedale Anticline. The company is doing the study on behalf of Nextraction Energy Corp., which owns over 2500 acres of leaseholds north of the Pinedale Anticline. The proposed study involves a 3-mile long transect along several lines, none of which is on Town property. Kinghorn explained that the new seismic trucks are quiet and shouldn’t cause noise issues or complaints. The project could begin as soon as January, 2011, or wait until after big game winter range restrictions are lifted. The company does not need a conditional use permit from the town. They will keep the Town informed of their progress. No action was taken.
3. Town Councilman David Hohl asked the Town Council to consider an option of what to do with a parcel of land the Town recently purchased across from Stockman’s restaurant. The plan was to turn it into a parking lot to help relieve the parking problem on Pine Street. Hohl would like to see that lot grassed over and used as a mini-park to host events such as the Farmer’s Market or band festivals hosted by nearby downtown businesses. Kate Grimes, Planning & Zoning, said they are studying Pinedale’s parking needs and would keep this in mind.
4. Discussed the 1st Readings of several new ordinances which relate to regulating campgrounds within Town limits; Duties and terms of Planning & Zoning Commission members; regulations pertaining to accessory dwellings (guest houses).
5. Discussed an issue with speeding in the BloomField subdivision. The Town currently cannot enforce speed limits on those roads because they are still private property until the subdivision plat is approved and accepted into the Town. Roads must either be dedicated to the public or maintained by a public entity. The current snowplowing agreement is not considered as meaning the Town has responsibility for the full maintenance of those roads. Council agreed to change the wording of their ordinances to say it allows them to post and enforce speed limits on any road that is "open to public use" within the town limits.
6. Josh Wilson, Town Public Works Department, reported vandalism damage to many Town street signs over the weekend. The cost to repair is approximately $1500.
7. The Town voted to advertises for two open board member positions on the Pinedale Airport Board. Positions are also available on the Park & Tree board, along with the newly vacated seat on the Planning & Zoning Commission which was just vacated by Michael Kudar.
8. Serese Kudar was selected to replace Terrie Swift as the non-voting, liaison position for the Sublette County Chamber of Commerce on the newly formed Town of Pinedale Travel & Tourism Commission. Councilman Michael Kudar did not vote on this appointment of his wife, citing the obvious conflict of interest.
9. The Town agreed to hold their next regular meeting on Monday, December 27th.