The question about whether Lima City Council members had enough notice about legislation that resulted in the “retiring and rehiring” of Chief Building Official Bill Brown was raised again this week.
Council member Teresa Adams took issue with an editorial that was published Sunday in The Lima News. It stated fellow council members Sam McLean and Jesse Lowe had every right to be upset with Lima’s city administration when they were asked to vote on legislation that was handed to them just three days earlier.
“We knew about the legislation two weeks ahead of time,” Adams said. “Howard knew there could be questions, so he gave us notice. The rest of us all took advantage of that. I was surprised to hear Sam’s reaction at the Council meeting.”
McLean stood his ground when contacted by the newspaper Friday.
“Yeah, I had discussions with Howard and Bill Brown prior to the meeting, but I had no idea the legislation was going be introduced until three days before our meeting. I still had lots of questions. It should have gone to committee; there was no reason to rush a vote,” McLean said.
A motion to take it to committee was never made, Adams said. McLean countered that during the pre-council meeting he was left with the impression no one wanted to send it to committee.
Both Adams and McLean are in agreement that the city needs to develop a succession plan for its senior employees. In the case of Brown, the chief inspector is approaching his mid-70s in age.
Brown’s contract this year will not exceed $82,000, Elstro told councilors during their meeting. He expects the city to realize a savings between $32,000 and $34,000 by rehiring Brown after he retires. He said the legislation also ensures training for staff members to eventually take over in permanent positions. Elstro said it also provides Lima with the certification and the level of services needed to provide to contractors and commercial entities who choose to invest in Allen County.
It’s unfortunate that a misunderstanding kept the discussion from going to committee before a vote was taken at the last council meeting.