Minden city council deliberates on potential new public works manager at workshop

Photo File | Minden Town Hall

Minden City Council, the mayor, as well as heads of various city departments were present in the Pelican Room at City Hall for a workshop to revise the June meeting agenda for the week next. The agenda item that took the longest time to discuss during the meeting was the hiring of a new director of public works.

The City has had no one to fill this position for almost five years now, and complications have arisen as a result.

When it comes to hiring, the conflict seems to be that the city is interested in hiring someone with more direct experience in public works, but for the pay they are willing to offer, get someone younger and less. experience that she can train seems to some to be a more realistic option to get the job filled.

“I believe we need a much more experienced person to work in this department,” said City Councilor Edwards of Dist. A.

“In some ways I would like us to have an assistant position to place it, to take it to the next level. At the moment, I am not decided on my position on this matter.

City Councilor Michael Roy of Dist. D added: “I understand regarding the experience. I guess my thought process is that I would prefer a younger person because they can learn. He has time to sit down with these guys who did. We really need someone pretty quickly.

“These guys know a lot of information, and if we don’t have anyone here who can start to absorb that information, we’re going to be in a world of pain. I just think he has the degree, I think he has the ability to learn, and as far as I know the department heads are on board.

Municipal Councilor Plan Bloxom of Dist. E was quite straightforward in saying that the city would not be able to hire an experienced person for the rate they can afford. She also mentioned that the person considers Minden to be her home, which she believes is worth considering when looking for someone for this role.

“With the amount of money that we have allocated to pay someone, we are not going to find someone with 10 years of experience, so [he] could be the man who could step in and fill this position, ”said City Councilor Pam Bloxom of Dist. E.

“And I know for a fact that [he] really wants to come and work for Minden, and you don’t have that regularly. People who really really want to work for Minden.

He considers Minden to be his home, I think that’s an asset, so I’m all for it.

City Councilor Bradford of Dist. C initially stated that he did not want to hire the person due to an alleged unannounced change in the job description of the Director of Public Works requiring a diploma. “That’s a no for me,” Bradford said.

“Is there a specific reason? Asked Mayor Terry Gardner.

“Yes, you all changed the job description. At one point it asked for experience, you all modified it to some extent. It hasn’t always been that way, ”Bradford said.

After this exchange, the topic of the conversation changed to try to find out if there had indeed been a change in the job description of the Director of Public Works. After consultation with some members of the City’s staff committee, the body that should approve any changes to the job description, it was confirmed that no changes had been made recently.

” I’m not in favor of it. Bottom line, ”Bradford said.

Gardner replied, “But that’s because you think someone has come here and crept in and changed …”

“Exactly,” Bradford interjected. “I’m only a fifth, and I say no, so you still have four fifths to do as they think.”

After hearing each other’s initial opinions on who they were considering for the job, the council then turned the department heads to see what they thought.

Again, the biggest barrier to hiring was the lack of direct experience in public works, although some chefs were willing to at least give hire a try.

“You all have to do something. You all need a public works manager. What’s it like, 4-5 years old? It’s bad, ”said Russel Poole, director of the steam plant.

“If he has the qualifications, I think you should give him a chance, and he’ll be on probation, so if that doesn’t work, it doesn’t.”

Airport manager Steven Burdeaux added: “We have needed it for several years. In my opinion, I don’t necessarily think that the director of public works, right at the door, has to be an expert in everything related to public works. It’s more of a people management position. You should have people in the departments below you who you trust to run their own departments and not necessarily micromanage everything. “

While some were willing to give it a try, others were adamant that the inexperience would be too big of a problem. When Terry Combs shared his thoughts, he noted not only the lack of experience, but also the fact that there would be additional difficulties for someone without that experience to work in an environment where the mayor and council do not. don’t get along.

“I think because of the inexperienced it’s going to be a problem, but then he’s going to have another problem. He has to come here and work for a council and a mayor where it’s unstable, ”Combs said.

“You used the word volatile. Why? ”Edwards asked.

“I use the word volatile because we know, everyone knows, that the council and the mayor are not in agreement, and you are going to bring an individual here, which I think is going to ruin him.” , said Combs. .

“He’s a young guy, I like him, but he has to try to work on both sides of the fence and I think it will be difficult for him. And that’s right, it’s going to be hard to get an experienced public works manager here for the amount of money you’re paying, but you’re going to need someone who has that.

“He has to respond to the mayor, then (the Council) will call him, then he has to try to understand us, and he has to work all that out. You need someone with some experience, ”Combs said.

By the end of the discussion, it was clear that Councilors Roy and Bloxom approved of the new hire, Councilor Bradford disapproving and Councilor Edwards still undecided. This means that whether or not Minden gets a new director of public works will not be confirmed until next week’s city council meeting.

The monthly city council meeting takes place on the first Monday of each month, starting at 5.30 p.m. at the town hall in Minden. Meetings are open to the public.

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