The sound of the gavel meant the start of a healthy conversation between the Parker City Council and it's top employees. The workshop held Thursday morning was centered on changes to the city's personnel policies.
Off the top, council members jumped in with suggestions. "All hiring and firing should be done by the council." Suggested Mayor Pro Tem Will Oost. His suggestion came in part because of a pending lawsuit, but other council members say there is a process for dealing with such grievances.
"If an employee feels like he was unfairly treated there is a process that he goes throw and it ends with us." Council member George Nepereny says.
Also on the table, the Mayor's working relationship with subordinate employees. Mayor Tonya Barrow was accused of overstepping city supervisors.
"There has to be a chain of command and we have to follow it." Council member Michael Miller says.
A heated discourse between Oost and Barrow then started. "Any employee that doesn't like what is going on they come see you and you change it." Oost alleges.
But Barrow denied those claims, "Mr. Oost, I don't know who you are talking about…I think you're wrong. I know you're wrong."
Nancy Rowell, Parker's City Clerk says the outdated personnel policies need updating, "the personnel policies that are in effect today from 2001 are in bad shape." However, she also notes the importance of creating a management structure that the city charter lacks.
"Part of my goal in working with the city attorney and the other department heads is to have a document that is easily understandable, easy to read, straight forward for any new employee for the city of Parker. Our charter does not provide the management structure or the direction of how employees and who their supervisors are and how it works." Rowell says.
So far the council agreed to recognize the supervisor of Public Works as a department head, because of budgetary restrictions in recent years, the council left the Public Works Director position vacant and as a consequence, the responsibilities fell on the supervisor.
Trivial policies such as not eating at your workstation were looked at closely and eliminated; the council is scheduled to meet next Wednesday, January 16th at 9:00 am to continue their discussion.