Split vote reverses decision, Shamokin secretary back to full time
SHAMOKIN - A split vote of Shamokin City Council on Monday reversed a decision from earlier this year and restored a code office secretary to full-time employment.
The move is estimated to generate at minimum $18,981.33 in revenue in 2014, according to a cost analysis prepared by a financial adviser.
Mayor William D. Milbrand, Councilman David Kinder and Councilman R. Craig Rhoades voted in favor. Council members Barbara Moyer and Charlie Verano dissented.
An expansion of code officer Rick Bozza's work week from 35 to 40 hours was approved unanimously. Bozza is a salaried employee and there is no effect on his salary, Kinder said.
Kelly Seroski will work 35 hours a week at an hourly rate of $9.50 and will also receive health benefits for the remaining 32 weeks. Estimated combined cost of wage and benefits is $26,018.67 for the rest of 2014, offset by $15,000 in state grant funding. That leaves the city's estimated expense at $11,018.67.
Kinder said a cost analysis was created in conjunction with its financial adviser, Financial Solutions, a division of the Stevens and Lee law firm.
Seroski was demoted to part-time status when the 2014 budget was adopted in December.
Moyer said Seroski is a "great worker." That's not her concern, she said. What is of concern is that there remains no one at the main desk at city hall to serve as secretary.
The councilwoman supports keeping Seroski at part-time and increasing her hours to alleviate a backlog of paperwork in the code office. She said an additional part-time secretary could be hired for the front desk at city hall.
"I just was not comfortable under those circumstances going there right now," Moyer said.
Kinder called the situation a Catch 22. The public may question why city council is spending money on employee wages and benefits, especially in light of a financial report recommending wage freezes and restructuring of benefits.
"If we don't increase our revenues we're back at the same spot," Kinder said.
Bozza said having Seroski at full-time will allow him to be in the field between six and eight hours daily. As it was when she was part-time, he split his day in and out of the office. He also pulled some duty behind the main desk at city hall answering calls and handling matters unrelated to the code office.
"He's not doing anybody any good answering a telephone," Milbrand said.