Contract extensions were in the air Monday evening as the Oxford Village Council took action at a special meeting to keep two temporary workers, who earn a combined $147.50 per hour, on the payroll in order to keep the municipal office running.
Council voted 5-0 to extend the lease agreement for Teich, the interim village manager, to Jan. 1, 2018.
The agreement “technically expired,” said Teich, on Nov. 3, but it does allow for its extension up to Feb. 2, 2018, if both parties agree.
Teich is being leased through the Illinois-based GovTempsUSA, a subsidiary of GovHR USA, a public sector staffing firm.
He’s been working for the village since Aug. 2.
Under the agreement, the village will continue to pay $98 per hour for Teich’s services for up to 40 hours per week. Any time worked in excess of 40 hours in a week will be billed at an hourly overtime rate of $147.50.
Teich is the village’s second interim manager since longtime Manager Joe Young was fired by council earlier this year. He now manages Lake Orion.
Council is hoping to start 2018 with a new manager in place. Council is expected to interview a candidate or candidates at its 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 meeting.
A search committee consisting of Teich, village attorney Bob Davis and consultant Jaymes Vettraino, who served as interim manager from May through July, is conducting the initial interviews.
This committee “reviewed all previously submitted candidates, reached out to a potential candidate and accepted one new submittal,” wrote Teich in an Oct. 31 memo to council.
“From this group, we selected four persons to interview. Of the four, two have already taken new positions.”
The committee was expected to interview the two remaining candidates, both of whom are currently employed, on Nov. 7 and 8, then send one or both to council for an interview.
If all goes well, Teich said council could potentially offer the position to a candidate on Nov. 14, then formally hire someone at the Nov. 28 meeting.
Under this scenario, Teich said the new manager, after providing their current employer with three to four weeks of notice, could start Jan. 2, 2018.
“That’s about the most aggressive timeline,” he told council. “You might shave off a couple of days.”
Council also voted 4-1 to extend the independent contractor agreement with Lori Fisher through Dec. 15. Councilwoman Maureen Helmuth, who had previously expressed her displeasure with Fisher’s pay rate, cast the lone dissenting vote.
Under the terms of the three-page agreement, Fisher, who has been working for the village since Aug. 28, is being paid $49.50 per hour (no fringe benefits) to handle various responsibilities related to the municipality’s finances. Her time is “not to exceed 20 hours per work week.”
At the village’s Oct. 10 meeting, council put an expiration date of Nov. 14 on the agreement with Fisher, who has worked part-time as Addison Township’s elected treasurer since 2012.
On Oct. 25, Fisher submitted, in writing, her “14-day notice of intent to discontinue (providing) contractual services” to Oxford.
Teich recommended to council that Fisher be kept in place “for many reasons.”
“We are still trying to get the audit done,” he said. “We have to do payroll. We have to do a lot of things.”
Fisher is doing a number of things normally handled by the village’s clerk/treasurer. That position has been vacant since June when Sue Nassar retired.
Officials want to hire a new manager before filling the clerk-treasurer position, so the new manager can participate in that search process and provide input.
“My only concern with that is the manager doesn’t hire the clerk and I don’t want to give the impression that the manager is the clerk’s boss,” Helmuth said.
Under the village charter, it is council that appoints the clerk and sets the salary for the position. The clerk serves “at the pleasure of the council.”
“That is a totally legitimate concern,” said Councilman Erik Dolan in response to Helmuth’s comment. “I would just like to know that there could be some office harmony (between the manager and clerk) and while obviously, council appoints the clerk, I do value input.”
Teich was directed by council to gather information regarding the compensation packages for municipal clerks in five comparable communities in north Oakland County.