Citizens For A Better Norwood

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Monkey business or the people's business?

Unless it's added after the meeting starts, the ordinance “changing the deputy auditor position to a part-time hourly position without benefits” isn’t on next Tuesday’s council agenda for a 2nd reading. We blogged about this baby on Saturday, 8/26 (see archives) after watching council withdraw it from the 8/22 meeting agenda so Auditor Donnie Jones could address it at the next meeting on 9/12.
Our 8/26 headline asked, “Council may cut deputy auditor to part time, but would this be good for Norwood?” Auditor Jones provided an answer, unwittingly, of course, reported under the Enquirer’s 9/13 headline, “Plan to reduce deputy’s position has Norwood auditor steamed up.” Before he walked out of council chambers after the 1st reading, he told them, “There is too much going on day to day. I don’t think it’s in the best interests of Norwood.” We had a hunch that might be the case.
We had a hunch about something else, too - the term part-time. Oddly, we thought, the ordinance didn’t define part-time or put a ceiling on the hours. Even more oddly, we thought, four councilpersons wouldn’t answer questions about this. Then we found out the city doesn’t have a legal definition for part-time on the books, and without that, there‘s no limit on the hours the deputy auditor could work. Who knew?
The ordinance cut the benefits, not the hours - not that that helps staff the position. A city official in a position to know explained, “I’m not defending the ordinance. I think what they had in mind was flexibility on the hours, like working 40 hours per week, whatever’s necessary, almost identical to the way the tax commissioner ordinance was written.” Oh. Really? Who are “they,“ and how come one of “them” didn’t explain that to Mr. Jones and the public (for those who may have forgotten, all of this is the public’s business) before he walked out after the 1st reading all “steamed up,” as opposed to just “steamed?”
Where do they find time for this monkey business? We thought they were seriously underpaid and overworked.