City of Ocean Springs

    Minutes - June 27, 2019 - 6:00 p.m. Special Call Meeting


    Be it remembered that the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Ocean Springs met in a Special Call meeting at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 3820 Bienville Boulevard, Ocean Springs, MS at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, June 27, 2019.  The Mayor presiding, Aldermen Gill, Authement, Bellman, Cox, Blackman and Impey were present.  Also present were City Clerk Patty Gaston and City Attorney Kevin Melchi. Alderman Papania was absent. 

    Let the minutes reflect that proper notice of the meeting was provided to all Aldermen via email and that the notice was posted at City Hall and online within one hour of the meeting being called.

    The Mayor called the meeting to order.

    The Special Call Meeting is for the purpose of any and all matters pertaining to department heads being able to raise areas of concern and needs of their departments with the Mayor and Board of Aldermen and discuss possible solutions; specifically but not limited to: pay scale implementation; identification and prioritizing of projects and funding; project management; engineering contract management; committees; water disputes; Police Department positions, personnel, and equipment; Fire Department positions, personnel, scheduling and equipment; Public Works Department positions, scheduling, policy, budget, debris pickup, and prioritizing landscaping and other projects; and Parks & Recreation Department positions.

    The Mayor said he and the Board wanted to have this meeting for open dialog between them and the department heads.

    The Planning & Grants Administrator discussed the need for project management, identifying and prioritizing projects and funding, and the current ongoing projects in the city. She said there will be many new projects and funding grants in the next 5 years and we will be busy. She said there is a great need for a project manager for the construction side of all the coming projects.

    Alderman Blackman said the Building Department may need restructuring. He suggested changing the Code Enforcement position to full time and that position could also work as a project manager which is needed. There was further discussion of having one of the current Building Clerks train in code enforcement and have one in the field and in the office when needed. The Mayor said he would meet with the Building Official to further discuss the restructuring next week.

    The Human Resources Director said the pay scale has been adopted which is composed of ten steps per pay grade with an annual 2% step increase.  She asked about giving a lump sum amount to employees whose salary is topped out at the tenth step of their pay grade.  Alderman Blackman said that the pay scale needs to be implemented as designed and consideration of giving a lump sum amount to employees who are topped out will be given if there is additional funding in subsequent years. She said this scale will need to be revised every five years and the Board was in agreement. She distributed a form to be given to each full time employee with the salary scale information and the total compensation cost for their respective position as most are not aware of the total employment cost paid by the city. She said she is working on a wellness plan for the city and expects to have the renewal cost from Blue Cross Blue Shield by early August.

    Alderman Impey said he, some of the Aldermen and the Mayor have met with Representative Hank Zuber to discuss BP funds and GOMESA funds for South Mississippi. He suggested to think big for projects for the funds which need to have an economic development aspect. He requested that all of the Aldermen be in agreement and provide a resolution.

    The Mayor began the discussion on the need for committees, especially in Human Resources and Finance. The Planning & Grants Administrator said a committee for projects would be beneficial to sort out, vet and prioritize projects and then present to the board. The City Clerk said the process would be done in the open and minutes taken, with all information presented to all board members. The Mayor requested the Deputy City Clerk add discussion of committees to the next agenda.

    The City Clerk discussed Water Department billing disputes. She suggested the development of firm guidelines and that she be the only contact for the public. The City Attorney said to excuse a utility it has to be due to unforeseen circumstances and determined that the benefit of the utility was not received.

    The Police Chief explained why the Police Department is in need of three to four General Service Officers. He also explained the need of a new surveillance system for the Police Station and radars in the police vehicles. The City Clerk said she would review the budget and budget amendments for the funds.  The Board was in agreement that all are needed. The Police Chief also said that the gas pump at department is installed and working great.

    The Deputy Fire Chief thanked the board for the implementation of the pay scale and two percent raise. He said this will hopefully help with the turn over the department has been experiencing and retention of experienced Firemen. He also suggested once the new fire truck is in service, that Engine 3 could be removed from service and auctioned off as it is too costly to keep it in workable condition and have another reserve truck in better condition. The City Clerk suggested an online auction for the truck as being more beneficial financially. 

    The Public Works Director said the current job descriptions and categories in the department need to be restructured to allow for promotion. The Mayor suggested he meet with Human Resources and Public Works to work on restructuring. The Public Works Director discussed the possibility of changing debris pickup around the city, to the 1st and 3rd weeks for the north side and the 2nd and 4th weeks for the south side. The possibility of a notice for garbage increase for debris pick up was discussed. He also said that city beautification needs to be prioritized.

    The Parks & Recreation Director said she is in critical need of an Administrative Assistant. The Art & Culture Coordinator who runs the pottery program and drives the after school and summer camp bus has plans to retire and after 90 days of retirement he will contract as a pottery instructor, which will free up his salary to hire an Administrative Assistant. The Mayor said to request authorization for an Administrative Assistant on the next agenda. She also said since the loss of the inmate workers the maintenance crews have been short staffed. Plus she is need of bus drivers with CDL and passenger endorsement for students after school care pick up. It was discussed to have other departments with current employees with CDL and passenger endorsement to help.

    Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to adjourn the Special Call meeting.

    The meeting ended at 8:32 p.m.

    _/s/Patty Gaston_________                      __/s/Shea Dobson_________

     City Clerk                                                 Mayor

     _July 16, 2019___________                    __July 16, 2019___________

     Date                                                           Date