Montesano City Councilman Dan Wood was again the lone dissenting vote in approving a job description and salary for a potential public works director.
While the position replaces outgoing public works director Rocky Howard (whose pending resignation is official May 15), it includes additional duties not currently covered by the public works director job description.
The new position will include the duties of former community development director Mike Wincewicz who retired last year. Additionally, Mayor Vini Samuel is hoping the individual hired for the position also will be an engineer.
While the public works position currently is budgeted at $85,000, Samuel asked for a range of $85,000-$95,000. The intent of the salary range is to entice a strong pool of candidates.
Samuel said she hopes to hire someone with experience in grants and working with other agencies.
“Every time we mess up something with SEPA (the State Environmental Policy Act), or Shorelines Management Act… it costs us money,” Samuel said. “That’s because our public works director didn’t have the experience to deal with the Department of Ecology.”
Overall, prior experience is key.
“We are asking for a lot of very specific talents and skills and experiences,” she said. “I don’t want someone learning here — that’s worth money to me. I want someone who has done it for a period of time.”
As further concern, several projects are upcoming for the city and Samuel said the window of opportunity for advertising and hiring is limited.
“We don’t have time (to test the market),” Samuel said.
Wood’s opposition was mostly aimed at the salary range.
“I am opposed to increasing our costs,” he said. “We had our police and firefighter unions this year do us a big favor by saying they would take only a 2-percent cost of living adjustment — I don’t want to go back to them and say, ‘Thank you again for doing that, we’re going to spend $10,000 of that savings on increasing an administrator’s salary.’
“Our voters countywide approved money for police. Our voters in Montesano approved money for fire. We have heard over and over, even though we’ve increased our spending on sidewalks over what it was when most of us came into office, it’s not enough,” he added.
Councilman Ian Cope made a motion to approve the job description and allow the mayor to hire for a range of $85,000-$95,000.
Wood asked to amend the motion to state “not to exceed $85,000.” The amendment failed.
Ultimately, the council approved the job description and gave the mayor the authority to hire for the position at a range of $85,000-$95,000.