Wayne White/Herald-Chronicle
Lyndon Mayor Jeff Bronson welcomes Lyndon City Administrator Kim Newman at the Nov. 15 council meeting.

Wayne White
| Managing Editor

LYNDON—The new city administrator wasn’t even officially on duty before the Lyndon City Council began loading work on her. Lyndon City Administrator Kim Newman took the oath of office during the Nov. 15 council meeting, but had gathered a list of tasks before being sworn in by Lyndon City Clerk Barb Schattak.

First on the agenda was review of employee wages and benefits. The council had previously began reviewing the information, due to a concern that employees might someday be required to pay taxes on health insurance benefits due to changes believed to be pending under national health care laws. At the Nov. 1 meeting, the council tabled discussion until the city administrator was in office.

Lyndon Mayor Jeff Bronson asked Newman if she would review city employee wages and benefits, and compare them to wage information Schattak had gathered from other cities. The review is to provide guidance to the council in setting wages and benefits.

“I know what you want,” Newman said, responding to Bronson.
She agreed to meet with city staff to evaluate city employee salaries and benefits.

Later in the meeting, employee overtime was brought up by Lyndon City Council Member Wayne Howard. As discussed, city policy provides that employees receive comp time instead of overtime pay, with overtime accruing each day the employee works in excess of eight hours.

Howard said his concern was that some employees do not schedule comp time, but instead call the supervisor on the morning the employee plans to be absent from work.

Newman advised the overtime policy should be consistent for all employees.

“This has to be looked at,” she said.

She suggested the entire personnel manual should be reviewed. With agreement from the council, she added the task to her list.

An ongoing contract to develop a website for the city was also discussed. Council members have previously expressed disappointment in the amount of time it has taken for Holy Fish Design to develop the site.

Newman indicated she understood the situation and inquired if the council wished to break the contract.

“I just want it done,” said Lyndon City Council Member Doug Watson.
“We’re not backing up,” said Bronson.

Howard described the situation, “Basically they want us to design it and send it back to them. What are we paying them for?”

Newman explained that the company likely developed a Web page template and needed the council to decide which information should be put on the website.

With Newman inquiring if the company had been paid for the service, it was noted half of the fee had been paid.

“This was supposed to be done in August,” said Lyndon City Council Member Bill Patterson. “Five months later, it’s still not done.”
“I’ll call them,” Newman said, adding to her list.

The council also considered how to best introduce Newman to the community. With a suggestion the introduction take place at a town hall meeting, the council discussed which topics should be considered at the meeting and a convenient date.

Howard said he was disappointed that a town hall meeting had not been held since he took office.

“Why have we waited so long?” he said. “We started talking about a town hall meeting after I’d been here for two or three meetings, and we still haven’t had one.”

Howard said he wanted to know the public’s thoughts on the city swimming pool, the Bailey House, and constructing a sewer to a proposed subdivision at the north edge of town.

Watson said he would like the public’s input on repairing streets.
“It would be nice to have some sort of plan, so they could look at it,” he said.

A date in March was suggested for the meeting, but all agreed it would not be soon enough to introduce the new city administrator.

While the town hall meeting was tentatively set for March, the council agreed Newman could be introduced at an upcoming basketball game at Lyndon High School and during the town’s Christmas parade Dec. 11. Suggested was an open house at the city office on the day of the Christmas celebration.

At Watson’s request, Schattak is to distribute the results of an earlier citizen survey to council members.

“That will give us topics of interest to consider,” Watson said.

In other business, the council:

• authorized the mayor to sign an agreement with Killough Construction to clean and fill cracks in streets that were resurfaced in 2006 and 2009 at a cost of $1 per linear foot, up to $4,400.

• at the request of Lyndon Police Chief Darrel Manning, approved the purchase of four digital video recorders that can be worn on an officer’s shirt pocket. Manning said the department’s VHS recorders in the patrol cars are wearing out and no longer record sound. The new cameras, at $130 each, will record sound and video from the officer’s perspective. Data from the recorder can be downloaded onto a computer and be used as evidence.

•  agreed to consider the purchase of a pickup-mounted snow blade for the maintenance department. The council agreed funds for the purchase had been included in the current year’s budget, but that immediately before winter was not the best time to purchase the equipment. Maintenance supervisor Dave Wilson is to research costs and present information to the council. During the discussion, the council also approved purchase of an air compressor for the maintenance department.

o discussed property on 12th Street with overgrown ditches and overhanging trees that interfere with street maintenance. A letter is to be sent to the owner advising overhanging trees should be trimmed.