City establishes human resource director position

By Areia Hathcock

According to the Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel, the past five or six years have been a challenge in the area of human resources for the city government. “We have really struggled for the past four years to keep up with state and federal mandates, and it has been a challenge trying to spread the work out,” he said. That ‘work’ includes benefits administration, employee and labor relations, employee training and ensuring legal compliance with federal and state requirements. The human resource related work was currently being handled by different department heads.

The city council approved Ordinance 2017-16 on Monday evening after suspending the rules to create the office of human resources director and then passed a motion to approve the mayor’s appointment of Chris Burnham to the position.

Burnham currently serves as the administrative manager at Lafarge-Holcim in Joppa and will retire from the plant on May 31. Her duties for the city will begin on July 10. The annual $65,000 salary for the position will be appropriated in the 2017-18 fiscal year budget which begins July 1.

Burnham, who is community-focused and has been a community liaison between the City and Lafarge for several years according to McDaniel, said, “I never saw myself in government, but then I thought I would rather give my skill set to my community.”

Two other ordinances were also passed during the Ordinance Committee report after suspending the rules. Ordinance 2017-17 denies a special use permit in accordance with the recommendations of the Zoning Board of Appeals regarding the property at 601 Johnson St. Alderman Buford McGuire, Ward 3, voted against the ordinance. The special use permit requested the installation of a manufactured home in an area zoned Agriculture. If the permit was accepted the city would have annexed the property in and possibly changed it to Industrial to conform with other properties in the district. This district does allow for manufactured replacement homes up to one year, but this request was for the placement of a manufactured home as a permanent home.

Ordinance 2017-18 approved a zoning district amendment for Lots 31-35 in the Kennedy Subdivision from R-1-B Residential to C-2 Central Business. This change makes potential development projects eligible for Enterprise Zone incentives.

In other business, the council:

• Accepted the purchase of a swim lift from In the Swim in the amount of $2933.99 for the Metropolis City Pool which was a budgeted item.

• Adopted a corporate resolution accepting a $20,000 grant from the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s Abandoned Residential Property Municipal Relief Program.

• Accepted a request from Kevin and Lisa Ulrich for subordination to Farm Credit services as a technicality for the Ulrichs to refinance one of their current loans. The $750,000 still owed to the city after an agreement made in December to forgive a portion of the debt by Ulrich and Curt Jones has not changed and will be paid in payments over the next three years.

• Accepted the recommendation of Dave Miller as a member of the Metropolis Public Library board of trustees.

• Adopted a proclamation for National Nursing Home Week for May 14-20.

• And, accepted a road closure on Metropolis Street between Third and Fourth streets on June 17. The road closure was previously accepted for June 24, but the date changed.