New members sworn in to serve council terms

By KayLynn Roberts-McMurray

The Ely Times

The two new Ely City Council members, Ernie Flangas and Tony DeFelice, were sworn in, and Sam Hanson was also sworn in, who is serving his second term, and who ran uncontested in the race.

One particular agenda item that had peaked alot of interest from members in the community was the discussion and possible action to reappoint City Administrator Robert Switzer.

This item was immediately requested to be removed from the agenda by councilman Kurt Carson. There was no explanation as to the removal of this item.

In a previous council meeting held on May 25, several people showed up expressing their concerns and frustrations when two of the very last agenda items were to approve three-year employment contracts for City Attorney Charles H. Odgers and Robert Switzer, but in the end, these items were removed from the agenda as well.

So why does this keep happening? What is the reason they keep getting added to the agenda and then removed? Why were attempts made to have three-year contracts locked in for Switzer and Odgers before the new council members took seat? Are Odgers and Switzer’s pay questionable?

When Switzer was hired in September of 2014, Transparent Nevada reported Switzer’s earning for 2014, as $17,307.70 but those numbers were only for four months of Switzer’s earning in 2014.

In 2015 Transparent Nevada reported Switzer’s pay at $76,807.65 and 2016’s earnings were reported at $83,557.71. Switzer received a $6,749.86 raise in 2016 from 2015.

Jim Alworth who was previously in the position for close to 13 years made $42,015.09 according to Transparent Nevada’s reporting’s.  All of these reported numbers are based on the regular pay, before benefits are included.

As the meeting went along, Hanson was selected to serve as Mayor Pro Tem, and the Mayor appointed council members to serve as liasons for each individual depart ments. Carson will be liaison for Fire, Landfill, Water/Sewer, and the Building department, Jolene Gardner will be liaison for the streets, and Recycling Center, Flangas will be liaison for parks and Cemetery, DeFelice will oversee Animal Control as liaison and Hanson will take care of the office staff as liaison.

City Treasurer Jannete Trask requested approval to transfer fiscal year 2017 budget appropriations between functions within the general fund in the amount of $39.474. Trask said “most of this unfortunately we are still working through, and we will most likely be dinged on the audit for, and I want to disclose that.”

The last item left on the agenda was discussion for possible action on City Attorney Chuck Odgers’ annual performance review. Hanson spoke and noted that Odgers wasn’t looking to have a raise, but rather a one time request for an additional 140 hours of annual leave. Councilman Carson raised many questions, “I believe last time Bob asked for a promotion, and he was denied a raise, are we going to open up a precedence now for other people to ask for additional leave time? Not that Chuck doesn’t deserve this I just think this could snowball.”

Councilman Hanson said, “my own feeling is that we need to look into the city ordinances about the schedule of these types of things so that we have some type of control over that, but I still think we should go ahead with this, and then get something in place for everyone.”

Odgers currently earns 3.33 hours per pay period, which rounds out to be 2 weeks of paid leave. Councilman DeFelice questioned the approval of this request by saying “so you get two weeks paid leave now, and you are asking for another weeks weeks?”

Carson noted his concerns, by asking the council to come up with a plan before moving forward on this request, but Hanson, pressed on to say “I agree that we really need to have this clarified, but I’d hate to lose the services of Mr. Odgers.”

Mayor Melody VanCamp also commented “he’s never had a vacation that he hasn’t been interrupted by the City of Ely.”

The motion for approval of Odgers’ one-time request for 140 hours was made and approved by Hanson, Gardner and Flangas, with Carson and DeFelice voting against it.

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