Parkersburg finance position offers more money

PARKERSBURG- When the city of Parkersburg fills the position of finance director, it will have more to offer qualified applicants.

Parkersburg City Council Tuesday approved the final reading of an ordinance reclassifying the city’s finance director to a higher classification, increasing the base salary of that position. The classification change approved Tuesday will increase the base salary for the finance director position to $55,000-$60,000.

The vote was 8-1 in favor of approving the ordinance, with Councilman Roger Brown dissenting. Councilman John Kelly said the change will bring that position out of line with other department head salaries within the city now, and he would like to see that issue reviewed in the future.

Angie Smith, former finance director, announced in October that she was stepping down to take another position within the city, in the development department. Darcie Dyke has been serving as acting finance director.

Mayor Bob Newell said the salary change will permit the city to provide a more attractive offer for qualified applicants in comparison with other similar positions being offered, especially for people with accounting degrees.

In other business, council unanimously approved the final reading of an ordinance vacating a portion of Camden Place in a motion sponsored by council’s Municipal Planning Commission.

Prior to Tuesday’s council meeting, the personnel committee met to discuss possible changes in employee salaries. The committee will be conducting its annual review of all city salaries, including the feasibility of possible raises.

The review is conducted each year prior to the start of the city’s municipal budget preparations. Newell told the committee that some information is available for review, but some state money will not be known until January.

Newell said the finance director vacancy may impact how quickly that information can be gathered, but didn’t anticipate significant delays.

The personnel committee approved a motion to continue discussion on the issue until the Jan. 14 meeting.

The committee heard from Fire Chief Eric Taylor regarding his department’s chief inspector position. That position is vacant after the previous holder decided to return to regular shift work within the fire department for financial reasons.

The chief inspector position is a 40-hour-per-week position, which means that person makes less than the 54-hour-per-week firefighter shifts, so there is less interest in filling it, Taylor said.

Within the department, the chief inspector is responsible for building inspections, plan review, investigations and public education.

Taylor said he would like to see compensation for the inspector position increased to address that difference, along with creating a 40-hour assistant inspector position. He is also interested in offering training for up to three firefighters to receive inspection training to become certified inspectors, which would become part of their regular shift work.

The committee approved a motion for Taylor to prepare a plan showing his proposed changes and how they would affect his department’s budget and bring it back for discussion at its Dec. 17 meeting.