When Peabody City Council came out of executive session Monday night and re-entered the open session, members unanimously approved a motion by council member Tom Schmidt to divide the duties of retiring City Administrator Mac Manning among three employees.
Shane Marler will be the new city administrator in addition to his duties as economic development director. Deputy City Clerk Stephanie Ax will be promoted to city clerk. And Court Clerk Leah Becker will also be the city’s accounting clerk.
Schmidt later noted that promoting from within offers several advantages to the mayor, council, and community.
“We have people we know who already are on our staff and we are happy with their work ethic and talents based on past performance. Given those facts, why would we seek an unknown candidate?” he said. “Also, Mr. Manning gave us enough notice that these people can be in training for several months and be up to speed by the time he leaves. By dividing the duties a little and keeping the employees we have, we think we are getting the best deal around.”
Ax, Becker, and Marler will be training for the change in their duties and responsibilities between now and Jan. 1.
In other business:
- Council members approved a $1,500 donation to the purchase of a new canine unit dog for Marion County Sheriff’s Department. The funds will come from Peabody Police Department budget.
- The question of taking out the remaining Bradford pear trees in the 100 block of North Walnut Street was discussed at length. The council agreed to take them out as soon as possible, but to leave a good-sized stump for the time being in an effort to make pedestrians aware of the uneven concrete slabs below. Removal of the stumps and repair to the sidewalks will be discussed in the future after more cost estimates are gathered.
- The council agreed to donate $50 to the annual Marion County Toy Run on Saturday.
- Manning announced that Knudson and Monroe will perform the 2013 audit with no increase in fees to the city.
- A request from Tom and Debra Swenson for correction to a pavement problem that creates a flooding issue in front of their house on Sycamore Street was tabled to give the street committee a chance to view the problem and determine the solution.
- Council members tabled a decision on the purchase of a new furnace unit for city hall. Manning will get additional bids and the council will review the information at a future meeting.
- The council discussed the possibility of purchasing a new police car, but tabled a decision until Chief Bruce Burke could return with additional figures.
- Public Works Director Darren Pickens told the council the newest sewer pump went out of service during the weekend and would need to be sent in for repairs. He said there also was sewage coming out of a manhole cover near the city park gates on Saturday. City employees determined that there was a collapsed line in the alley between Vine and the Union Pacific tracks in the First to Second Street block. The council approved the expense of an emergency repair for the line.
- The council reviewed additional quotes for street repairs from APAC. The street committee will meet and choose the crack and seal projects and the patch jobs that will use the balance of allotted 2012 street funds.
The next City Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at the city building.