HUBER HEIGHTS — Huber Heights Police Chief Mark Lightner will have to wait a little longer to implement a planned change in the police department.
Lightner hopes to reorganize the police department’s shift rotation later this year by moving to a three-shift system. That change includes adding an additional sergeant to the staff. The new sergeant would be promoted from the patrol officer rank and would not immediately result in any new police officers being hired, although it would result in an increase in salary for the new sergeant. Lightner said he hopes council will approve adding a new officer or officers in next year’s budget.
City Council Monday night was asked to consider a resolution that would create a lead communications officer and the new sergeant position. Lightner was hoping council would approve the measure Monday, but Council Members Glenn Otto and Tyler Starline weren’t so sure. Neither opposed the change, but both said they felt they needed more information before making a decision.
Council eventually left the issue on the table, to be discussed at the next work session and brought back at the next council meeting on May 22.
Meanwhile, the discussion about the police department brought a comment from City Manager Rob Schommer about individual council members discussing labor-management issues with employees, which could possibly be seen as a violation of fair labor practice.
Mayor Tom McMasters asked City Law Director Jerry McDonald to come up with some specific guidelines in the labor-management area.
Council members found themselves more in agreement on a resolution showing their approval of spending funds on the city’s new priority list for recreation. Council voted 7-0 to approve a resolution that allows the city to spend not more than $110,000 on a list of improvements needed at city parks. The long list of specific improvements was called by Council Member Mark Campbell “putting our money where our mouth is” concerning recreation. He said it served as a sign that council can work together and that it is committed to making significant improvements in the city’s parks.
Also on Monday night, council:
- Heard a report from Fire Chief Mark Ashworth on the city’s Code Red warning system and heard him explain why he thinks it is a good fit for the city. He compared it to a warning siren system and said that if the city wanted to spend more money on public safety, a lightning detection system for the city’s parks would be a better investment than tornado warning sirens.
- Approved a resolution approving the city’s participation in the Ohio Municipal League’s workers’ compensation group program. The city gets a better rate by participating in the group program than it would going on its own.
- Approved a resolution authorizing the city manager to modify fees charged to youth athletic organizations for using city fields in 2017. The city has decided not to charge the groups for use of the fields this year, with the exception of special events or tournaments. The measure passed 6-1, with Janelle Smith voting no.
- Heard from residents Greg and Linda Wallace, who took the city to task for not better publicizing the primary election held May 5.
Council Member Nancy Byrge was absent from Monday’s meeting.
Reach Dave Lindeman at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.