Poor Portage faced with more bills PDF Print E-mail
Written by By DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 05 January 2010 09:58
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PORTAGE - Two part-time employees, a police officer and the mayor's court clerk, are asking the financially-strapped village for sick pay.
Mayor's Court Clerk Sue Kepling has also filed a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, saying she injured her wrist on the job in Portage.
Council, meeting Monday for the first time this year with three new members and one vacancy, agreed to pay Officer Russ Williams for five hours of sick leave. Williams worked part time for the police department which was closed last month to save money.
Mayor Mark Wolford said he was still looking into Kepling's request for six hours of sick pay and that he didn't know about her worker's compensation filing.
Clerk-Treasurer Bruce Shepherd said he was filing the village's response to her complaint, reporting her hours, which were 9 a.m. to noon three days a week. That dropped to two days a week in November. She has worked for the village since August 2007.
Council had discussed Williams' request for sick leave in executive session last month, then asked Solicitor Paul Skaff for an opinion.
In a letter, he advised paying the sick leave, even though the village does not provide sick pay for any employees or have a policy.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, various municipal employees "shall be entitled for each completed 80 hours of service to sick leave of four and six-tenths hours with pay." Unused sick leave can also accumulate without limit and be transferred.
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Williams earned $13 an hour and Kepling is paid $9 an hour. She is expected to continue working for the village through February when the mayor's court finishes all its cases.
The village was put into fiscal emergency by the state auditor's office in April. It was expected to end 2009 with a $162,000 deficit. As part of Portage's financial recovery, council eliminated the police department and pledged to put a 1 percent income tax on the May ballot.
Wolford said he hoped the new councilmembers would campaign for the income tax.
"That's the biggest thing we have to accomplish," he said. "And we all have to think about how we present that to the village."
Mike Brinkman, Carl Crawford and Rose Yoder are the new members. They join Marcia Wolford and John Jividen, who was not at Monday's meeting.
Council will be welcoming another new member soon.
The mayor said Floyd Wilson resigned, effective Dec. 31, due to personal reasons.
Wolford said council has 30 days to appoint a resident to the seat, or he can. Anyone who's interested should submit name, address, how long he or she has lived in the village and any other pertinent information to council by Jan. 27.
In other business Monday, council elected Brinkman as president. It will continue meeting the first and third Mondays of the month at 7 p.m. in the town hall. The next meeting will be Jan. 19 due to the Martin Luther King holiday.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 January 2010 11:43
 

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