MOUNT VERNON — The job description for an assistant director of Public Utilities is now in place and the city can start the process of finding someone to fill the position.
This winter, City Council approved legislation creating the position and setting the salary at $59,420. Thursday, the Civil Service Commission was being asked to approve the job description.
The Civil Service Commission voted 3-0 to approve the job description presented by the administration.
Safety-Service Director Joel Daniels said they would post the job as soon as possible, both internally and for the public. He hopes they can fill the job by the beginning of July, but they have no timetable set. He also said he fears they may have set the salary too low to attract fully qualified candidates.
“Mathias is great at time management, but he has trouble getting everything done and needs help,” Daniels said.
That is especially true since the Ohio EPA has increased requirements, such as the amount of time the licensed operator of the Water and Wastewater plants (Orndorf in both cases) must spend at each place, plus the reports that need to be filed from each, as well as from Distribution and Collection.
Daniels said licensed operators are needed to file many of the reports, and current employees don’t have those licenses, although there have been programs in place (and supervisors have the paperwork) for helping employees apply for training for advanced certification (and obtain raises) but they haven’t been used.
Donald Bayse, a maintenance worker in Distribution and Collection, addressed the commission, saying employees had heard rumors that someone was already selected for the job and asking if there are ways for current employees to progress and if a current employee without certifications would be allowed time to obtain them.
Bayse also asked if current employees would be eligible for the job, and claimed that his current foreman offered to do the job for a $5,000 raise. He said the foreman was told there was no money available.
Daniels said the job has not been promised to anyone and that the city would be willing to talk about time for obtaining certification, but he also noted that EPA had increased requirements for obtaining operator certification in recent years.
The most significant qualification required for the job will be to “have appropriate state certification required by OEPA to supervise the local distribution and collection system and serve as operator of record for the distribution and collection system for water and wastewater.”
Orndorf said they would like to find someone who is double certified with at least Class II Operator licenses. They could then be working on Class III operator licenses. Orndorf is double-certified for Class III plants, such as Mount Vernon’s.
Daniels said they are also looking ahead a few years, so that when Orndorf retires, they have someone ready to step up.