Harms appointed as interim director

Staff writer

Peabody city employee Ronnie Harms was appointed interim public works director and given a $1 an hour raise Monday evening by the Peabody City Council. Harms was temporarily appointed to the position on Oct. 9, following the resignation of former director Darren Pickens.

Interim City Administrator Mac Manning said he had been in touch with Kansas Department of Health and Environment to make sure that Harms and the city are meeting state requirements. Harms will be designated by the state as a water operator in training and be given a year to complete the certification process.

The city also has advertised the position in several publications.

During his first director’s report to the council later in the meeting, Harms addressed some concerns from council members about safety requirements, division of remaining comp hours and vacation time for himself and Harold Brooks Jr., and assistance available from the Hillsboro Water Department.

Harms also suggested taking an inventory of materials on hand to meet the needs of the city before and after the first of the year and presented a list of probable expenses such as repairs and tires needed in 2014.

He suggested the city review some excess equipment that is never used and consign it to an auction by Van Schmidt on Nov. 8. The council approved the sale.

In other business:

  • David Beckner asked the council why ordinances were not enforced for everyone who has a trailer parked on the street or a camper or motor home in their drive or yard. The council agreed that ordinances should be uniformly enforced and instructed Police Chief Bruce Burke to investigate the residents Beckner named.
  • Council member Pam Lamborn questioned a $316 expenditure to Heartland Technology Solutions to gain access to the city’s municipal court laptop. Manning said that when Peabody Court Clerk Leah Ottensmeier resigned and left the city’s employment, she did not turn in the passwords to access the laptop and attempts to reach her for the information were unsuccessful. Heartland was contacted to get into the computer. After discussion, the council instructed Manning to bill Ottensmeier for the charges.
  • Former Municipal Court Clerk Jan O’Neil has returned to fill that position on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is found. She will work 12 hours a week.

The next meeting of the Peabody City Council will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 11in the city building.

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