Parkersburg City Council’s Personnel Committee approves 3 requests

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce, second from right, speaks during Monday’s City Council Personnel Committee meeting as, from left, Development Director Rickie Yeager, Personnel Director Sondra Wallace and Public Works Director Everett Shears listen. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG — City Council’s Personnel Committee approved a trio of requests from the administration Monday.

The first would change the rate of pay for the chief fire inspector from an annual salary of $46,176, with no eligibility for overtime, to an overtime-eligible $21.59 an hour.

The chief fire inspector job became a salaried position in 2015, under a previous administration, but Mayor Tom Joyce said it was recently discovered that the job could not be exempted from overtime. The base rate is being lowered because the position can now receive overtime, he said.

In a little over two years, the chief fire inspector worked 96 hours extra, Joyce said. The change should not require any alterations to the current or proposed budget, he said.

The new rate is based on the day shift salary for a captain, which Personnel Director Sondra Wallace said was common in three other cities she contacted, including Clarksburg and Morgantown.

Parkersburg Fire Chief Jason Matthews, front, speaks during a City Council Personnel Committee meeting Monday at the Municipal Building while Lt. Wayne White, the incoming chief fire inspector, listens. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

The Personnel Committee voted 4-0, with Councilman Zach Stanley absent, to refer the change to the full council.

After some discussion, the committee also recommended in a 4-0 vote granting the electrical division the ability to hire an apprentice to fill a recent vacancy rather than only a journeyman or master electrician. Doing so would increase the pool of potential hires, said Terry Sellers, electrical division supervisor.

“You’re going to be turning a lot of people away who may have been a good employee,” he said.

While nothing would prevent the city from hiring a journeyman or master electrician if one applied who was a good fit, the change proposed by the administration would open the job up to someone who did not have their National Electrical Code certification. But that person would be required to obtain their certification within six months to keep the job.

Councilman Eric Barber said he was concerned about the move.

Parkersburg Development Director Rickie Yeager, left, listens as Councilman Dave McCrady asks a question during Monday’s Personnel Committee meeting at the Municipal Building. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

“You’re lowering the standard for application to nothing,” he said.

Joyce said the change could allow a current city employee to apply for the job or draw someone who would learn and advance their career in the city.

“That’s just good personnel policy to have folks who are here for a long time,” he said.

The final item considered was the updating of job descriptions and classifications for a development projects administrator in the Development Department and a code official/municipal housing inspector in Code Enforcement.

Development Director Rickie Yeager said the duties of a position vacated in October 2015 were split between those other jobs and the arrangement has worked well. The reclassifications and accompanying increases in pay reflect the additional duties, he said.

Parkersburg electrical division Supervisor Terry Sellers discusses a proposal to add an apprentice electrician position during a City Council Personnel Committee meeting Monday at the Municipal Building. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

The development projects administrator will see a base salary increase of $4,284, while the inspector will see a $3,266 increase. Joyce said Community Development Block Grant funds are expected to cover the additional pay.

All three items are expected to appear on the March 28 council agenda.