Morenci city council 11.03.2010

Written by David Green.


Morenci city council will soon be searching for a new city treasurer due to the resignation of Stephanie Mossing.

Mossing submitted a letter of resignation at the Oct. 25 council meeting, announcing that she would leave the position at the end of the year. This would allow time to train a new employee before she begins working as finance director for the Village of Delta, Ohio.

Acceptance of her resignation was tabled until council could discuss the details of her departure. That discussion occurred at a special meeting Oct. 26 night and Mossing was given two options to consider: Stay with her Morenci job and work five hours hours overtime each week to potentially add $6,466 to her existing annual wage of $34,486; or leave the job and reimburse the city $12,842 for tuition the city paid while she earned a bachelor’s degree.

Mossing announced Friday she would take the second option and pay the city $100 a month over the next 10 years.

At the Oct. 25 meeting, Morenci mayor Keith Pennington thanked Mossing for her years of service with the city and expressed his appreciation for the early notice of departure.

However, he said, there is the issue of repayment of college tuition that council isn’t clear about. The city paid more than $26,000 for continuing education following an agreement made by city council in 2005: If Mossing didn’t remain with the city at least five years after the final class was completed, she would repay tuition costs in full.

“I knew I would have to repay some of the schooling,” Mossing said, “but I thought it was a pro-ration over the five years. Financially, I can’t come up with a lump sum like that, whether it’s pro-rated or not.”

Pennington said he was hesitant to accept the resignation without knowing details of the repayment.

Council met in a special session the following night for two and a half hours and eventually approved the two options. The option involving overtime was accepted unanimously after city administrator Renée Schroeder spoke about the challenge city hall staff faces in efficiently handling its workload. Budget cuts in May 2007 reduced the staff from four full-time employees to three.

Mossing presented a plan for repayment that she considered affordable, which led to the second motion, offered by Joe Varga—reducing the $26,000 debt to $12,842 and repaying the city, without interest, at $100 a month. This passed by a 4-3 vote, with Mayor Pennington and councilors Jason Cook and Tracy Schell opposing the offer. Varga was joined by Greg Braun, Art Erbskorn and Leasa Slocum to pass the motion.

The city’s employee handbook includes a provision stating that “employees shall be reimbursed 100 percent of their cost in attending study courses or training sessions designed to assist the employee in developing skills required in the pursuit of their employment with the City of Morenci. Said courses or training sessions must first be approved by City Council.”

When council approved Mossing’s course of study, the five-year stipulation was added to the motion.

Mossing was hired by the city in June 2002 and assumed the role as city treasurer in 2007.

Council is expected to formally accept the resignation at the Nov. 8 meeting.

HENKEL—Pennington said the city was notified by the Henkel company that it would like to sell the remaining property it owns in the city, on the former site of the Parker Rust Proof Company.

Henkel gave its property east of Mill Street to the city in 2004. Now it’s ready to part with the 3.5 acres on the west side of Mill Street that border Bean Creek. The company is asking $2,500 for the land.

Council voted to send the proposal to the city attorney for review.

When council members decide whether or not to accept the offer, Pennington said, they will have to weigh the loss of tax revenue vs. the availability of the property for development. With Henkel based in Germany, he expects that purchasing the property in the future could face a delay that could hinder quick action, if needed.

Environmental clean-up of the property was completed by Henkel, but development is limited to commercial and industrial uses.

BID—Council voted unanimously to accept the only bid received for an environmental assessment of the two properties on Orchard Street that will be demolished for the parking lot project.

Fibertec of Holt, Mich., will complete the assessment for $1,630.

LIABILITY—Liability insurance will again be purchased from the BHS agency at a cost of $32,231 for each year of a two-year renewal.

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    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
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