Village board discusses issues with overtime pay for Street Department

OBSERVER Photo by Damian Sebouhian The Fredonia village board discussed Street Department overtime pay during Monday’s regular meeting.

After spending the workshop portion of its time — from 6 to 7 p.m. — in executive session, the Fredonia Village Board held a relatively short regular meeting. The topic that expended most of those 17 minutes involved brush pickup and overtime pay for street department employees.

Village Administrator Richard St. George introduced the topic, reminding the board that the village recently paid 48 hours worth of overtime to the department.

“We’ve got 24 active hours of work out of the men that actually man that site,” St. George began. “So, 24 actual hours which equates to 48 overtime hours which equates to (the village) paying for 72 straight-time hours and we’ve gotten 24 hours of work.”

St. George emphasized that “We need to change the policy there in order to not be making this a free-for-all.”

St. George suggested the village change Saturdays dump times to four hours.

“Then you’re going to get four hours of pay for four hours of work,” he said. “You will eliminate overtime.”

Trustee Doug Essek agreed with St. George.

“(St. George’s) suggestion makes sense to have four hours on Saturdays,” Essek said. “Is that an issue with anybody? I can’t see spending tons of money on overtime for this at all. I don’t see taxpayers having to pay 72-hours worth of pay for 24-hours worth of work.”

Mayor Athanasia Landis didn’t directly disagree with the change, but she told the board that she gets regular phone calls from residents about brush pick-up.

“I have a lot of phone calls about brush,” Landis said. “A lot of people are not happy because they have to cut it into small pieces. Many people are not happy because (the pickup) had passed three days ago and now (they) have more brush and nobody is picking it up.

“This is a very serious problem. That’s how I see it. It’s partly because the village doesn’t look the way it’s supposed to look.

“I have no magic wand. My information about the DPW is they don’t have too much volume.”

Essek questioned the characterization of the situation’s magnitude.

“I don’t think it’s a serious problem; I think it’s an inconvenience for people,” he said. “I have stuff too. If I miss the beginning of the month, it’s done (the next) month…”

Essek said it will be an inconvenience “until we come up with a plan to remedy the Webster Road site properly, so things can be taken up there in the near future.”

“I’m just conveying the problem as it’s been conveyed to me,” Landis said. “I’m very uncomfortable having these phone calls so often.”

From brush pickup, the board discussed the progress of erecting a fence around the Eagle Street compost site.

“(There’s been) no progress with the fence,” St. George reported.

The village clerk went on to explain that before asking for quotes, “You need to get a professional in there to actually take a look at (the site). You can’t have people come down there and just give you a quote on how much it would cost to put a fence up because everyone is going to approach it in a different fashion.”

St. George said that once it’s determined what type of fence and all its variable specifics, then the village can begin checking prices.

Essek said he’s found one quote for cameras at the site and is “in the process of getting 2 more (quotes) because of that cost. It will work out well with the construction of the fence because if we do a mechanical operated front entranceway off of Temple Street, they have to dig a trench for the electrical, the proper camera set up to keep an eye on the brush pile would require a trench to be dug.

“Let’s hope this all lines up in the same period of time and if we can reduce some costs on the fence we could probably utilize some of that money towards a camera system for the entire DPW.”

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