Tonight was the final council meeting of the term. My notes are below:
- The leaf pickup program ended on Thursday. This is the earliest we ever completed it.
- By a 4-2 vote, council approved a four-year extension of John Earle’s contract. John is the Director of Budget and Management. I voted “no,” as did Joe Hickin. … I think John is one of our best employees. He’s smart. He has invaluable institutional knowledge. I would even call him a friend. However, I believe the practice known as “double-dipping” is wrong. “Double-dipping” is where an employee “retires,” begins to collect his state pension, and then returns to work for the same entity and in substantially the same position. It’s an enormous cost to our state pension system. With that said, this was one of my most difficult votes of the term.
- I also voted “no” on renewing the contract of Fred Hanson, the course superintendent at Fox Den. Since the city took over the course, it has been no secret that Hanson and golf pro Tom McKinney don’t get along. It’s gotten to the point where Hanson does not technically even answer to McKinney, which is the standard chain of command at every other golf course. We have serious problems at Fox Den, particularly with the conditions of the course, and this sort of personnel issue only makes things worse. Hanson’s legislation passed by a 4-2 vote.
- We voted to cancel our scheduled meeting for December 29, which means this term is over, as is the 16-year council career of Janet D’Antonio. I would like to thank her for her dedicated service to the city. What I liked most about Janet was that we could have an intense debate, but she would be friendly afterward. That is missing too often from our politics.