Dowd updates Monterey council on delinquent tax auction

Monterey, Va. –
Absentee Monterey land owner Ruth Ann Morrison’s property on Spruce Street will be auctioned off for non-payment of Town taxes sometime in the near future. Town Attorney Melissa Dowd described the situation to the Council members.

“The judge (approved) our Order of Pubication asking that her property be sold for the payment of Town taxes,” said Ms. Dowd. “The Order of Publication was returnable on Monday, December 10. So I will have an order prepared for the judge to consider. As of what I knew at 2 PM this afternoon, Ms. Morrison has not filed an answer. She has not contacted the Circuit Court. She has not paid the Town anything that is owed,” she said.

In other business the Council discussed the job description used in the hiring of new Town Clerk Cindy Kelly. Mayor Warner and Councilman Fenn hired Cindy for a work day from 9 AM to 4 PM giving a 35 hour work week. They also specified that Cindy would get 1 week paid vacation the first year of her employment and two weeks vacation each following year. Councilman Jay Garber took issue with the vacation time specified in the job description used by Mayor Warner and Councilman Fenn.

“At the closed meeting when we decided to offer Cindy the position for the Clerk job, it was with one week’s vacation for the first year , which is outside the Personnel Policy, (that says that) annual leave credit shall be provided at the rate of two weeks per year,” said Mr. Garber.

Town Attorney Melissa Dowd summarized the circumstances surrounding the interview process for hiring the Town Clerk. Apparently the search committee did not provide applicants with the job description. Cindy received the job description after she started work.

“From a legal standpoint, there’s an obvious conflict with the job description, which normally what is provided to applicants prior to an interview,” said Ms. Dowd. “That’s the reason it is written. It’s so the applicant knows what’s going to be expected of them. And it strikes me that the way to resolve this is that you have two issues. One is the immediate issue with Cindy, one week or two weeks. Do you follow the Personnel Policy or what you and Mr. Fenn discussed because both of them were legally applicable at the same time. Council needs to vote on one week or two weeks for Cindy, then the general policy question is do you want it to read the way it does now which is “two weeks every year,” or do you want to change it to what you are representing has always been but never officially got changed,” she said.

The Council then voted to follow the Town Personnel Rules and give Cindy two weeks paid vacation her first year as well as in each following year. Mayor Janice Warner explained that the Council had a policy for several years that the Clerk received only one week’s paid vacation in the first year and two weeks each following year and that was the reason the job description was written in that way. The Mayor responded to the Council’s vote with the following comment.

“I don’t feel with the motion passing, that it gives much credence to the work that Mr. Fenn and I did, said Mayor Warner. “And the fact that you have gone against what we offered this girl. So, I just want that to be known,” she said.

The Council then voted to change the Personnel Rules so that the Town Clerk hired after Cindy, would receive one week’s paid vacation the first year and two weeks in each following year.

The next regular meeting of the Monterey Town Council will be Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 7:30 PM in the Highland Public Library.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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