Discussion of street administrator continues

SALINEVILLE – Village council continue to weigh the possibility of having street administrator Ralph Ross and Board of Public Affairs employee Travis Needham help one another with work in their respective departments. The proposal to have the two departments work together faces several challenges including funding and legal hurdles.

Discussion of having the two departments’ sole employees help one another began last week at the Board of Public Affairs’ biweekly meeting and reemerged Monday night as council members continued to push the idea.

“We need to come to some sort of agreement about what we’re going to do about Ross helping sewer and sewer helping streets,” said Councilman Brian Tedeschi. “There are times that both of them are going to have to have help.”

Mayor Mary Smith questioned Tedeschi as to whether he had checked with village fiscal officer Becky Tolson to see if there was enough money in the street and sewer funds to pay both employees when they assist one another. She also noted that there was no village legislation creating the new positions, which Ross and Needham would represent on each other’s departments, nor was there legislation establishing what or how each would be paid.

“You can’t use sewer fund money to have him (Needham) on the streets,” said Smith.

Councilwoman Sally Keating responded by saying that council plans to pay Ross from the sewer fund when he helped with Needham and pay Needham from the streets fund when he helped Ross. Keating noted that this practice had been done in the past and both men would mark on their time cards the time they spent helping the other.

“The street (fund) doesn’t have any money now and we’re not going to make this an everyday occurrence,” said Keating.

Tedeschi, who heads up the street/street lighting committee, noted that the street fund having very little money in it is the reason why some village streets have not been repaired.

“I think the people ought to know that the reason we aren’t doing anything to the streets is because we do not have any money,” said Tedeschi.

Council did not vote on the proposal Monday and the subject is expected to be brought up again at the next meeting.