Chillicothe — Council had an agenda of 15 items Monday evening, none at third reading and ready for passage – and then bypassed the three-day receipt rule to add one more item (on end-of-year expenses).
They then passed all but two of them on first reading, bypassing the three-read rule. Some of them had pretty high price tags.
David White commented during public participation that council is passing too much legislation too quickly, especially financial items, preventing the public from having time to learn about the proposed legislation – as the three-read rule is intended to allow.
That rule provides that council reads proposed legislation three times, meaning it is in the public spotlight for about six weeks after being released from committee.
Safety Service chair Julie Preston saw seven items pass. Those included almost $21,000 to sweeten the pay for firefighters to improve employee retention, and $957,45 for turnout gear for three new hires.
Preston said the three firefighters fill empty positions, so that the staff of about 46 is only three less than optimal.
Preston also saw a $750 donation accepted from the Ohio Elks Association for the fire department’s “Smoke Alarms for Everyone” or SAFE program. She said this is an annual event for the department to give out detectors around the fall time change.
The Chillicothe Fire Department was appropriated $326,000 to help the changeover to a new MARCS digital radio system. Preston said her ordinance uses funds from the department’s budget instead of seeking a loan, after the department found that they could afford that method.
Preston said their current radio system will expire at the end of the year, so the expensive MARCS system is a necessity.
Law Director Anna Villarreal was appropriated $10,000 for outside contracts. She said she is also working on getting a new employee after recently loosing him to Pickaway County…and has trouble keeping employees.
Council also went into executive session for about 15 minutes on “employee negotiations,” probably on the invitation of Mayor Luke Feeney to give a briefing on his AFSCME city employee negotiations.
Council’s original three-page agenda: