Mag looks at personnel policy

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The Village of Magdalena Board of Trustees discussed the village personnel policy during its regular meeting Monday night, with some disagreement about paying marshal’s deputies overtime rates.

The item on the board’s agenda was a public hearing for first consideration. A public hearing for second consideration of the village’s personnel policy will occur during the board’s regular meeting Dec. 3.

Trustee Barbara Baca said she would like to have the section reworded so the overtime pay is not done away with completely.

“I feel it’s only fair that our police officers get overtime,” Baca said. “Because if they don’t get overtime, none of the other departments should get overtime. We gotta be fair across the board.”

Rita Broaddus, village clerk, explained after the meeting that the overtime for police is the biggest change to the personnel policy. She specified the village must still pay for hours officers work, just not at the time-and-a-half rate for hours worked over eight per day or 40 per week.

Broaddus said the new policy is written in accordance with state statute, which allows a small community with a police force of fewer than five officers to be exempted from paying officers the time-and-a-half rate. The Magdalena Marshal’s Office employs three officers.

Broaddus said the village currently works under another overtime exemption, a federal one, that allows some leniency for small communities. Under that exemption, police have to work 92 hours in 15 days before the overtime rate kicks in.

Trustee Dolly Dawson hesitated over a different detail of the amended personnel policy — the changing of “clerk” to “mayor” in many sections detailing areas of responsibility.

“What if you’re not here?” Dawson asked the mayor.

Mayor Sandy Julian said in that case, the responsibility falls on the mayor pro tem, currently Trustee L. Diane Allen.

Dawson asked what the village would do if both mayor and mayor pro tem are unavailable when needed, or if the next village mayor has a different work schedule that precludes him or her from fulfilling the obligations outlined for the mayor in the personnel policy. She also objected to a section about the mayor evaluating a job applicant’s qualifications, asking why they don’t have the supervisor of the appropriate department evaluating the applicant.

Dawson suggested rewording some parts to read “mayor and/or” the clerk or some other appropriate designee.

“I think there should be a lot more ‘and/ors’ here,” Dawson said.

Dawson pointed out many of the sections pertain to areas of expertise in which the mayor is not trained.

Allen said the way the personnel policy was written before, it gave the impression that all of the village power and responsibilities rested on the village clerk.

“So all I was trying to do, Dolly, was to clarify it so there’d be no confusion in the future for future boards and for mayors,” Allen said. “That’s all this is.”

In other business, during her mayor’s report Julian updated the board on progress made converting Magdalena’s old senior center into a disaster relief shelter. She noted the exterminator had been through the old senior center killing bugs and rodents, and the electrician has started work in there. She said now the village needs volunteers to help clean up and paint.

Julian said the village has a stove for the relief shelter, but still needs a sink and counter top. She said they would appreciate someone to donate the materials since the village cannot afford to buy them.

Speaking of emergencies, during the public input portion of the meeting trustees thanked the fire and police departments for their good work containing the fire Saturday that burned a house on Ash Street. The marshal’s blotter reports the residence was fully engulfed in flames and a total loss, but the family escaped unharmed.

Also during public input, Allen thanked the whole community for its support of Magdalena Friends of Animals.

“The support of the community is so important to what we do,” Allen said. “And without that support, we wouldn’t be able to continue our efforts.”

Julian mentioned the village is still looking into putting stop signs at the intersection of Chestnut and Fourth streets, and they should be able to do something soon.

In other business, the Board of Trustees:

  • Set a burn date of Nov. 17 for Magdalena residents to burn their leaves, weeds and similar yard waste. Julian specified this does not permit residents to burn tires or garbage, only organic waste.
  • Awarded a propane contract to Sierra Propane at a cost of $1.295 per gallon. The village received two sealed bids, which were opened by the mayor during the meeting. The other bid, from Ag Country Propane, was for $1.56 per gallon.
  • Tabled an item concerning a new airport hangar. Broaddus said Wayne Ryan wants to build a new hangar for Magdalena’s airport, but Ryan was not present at the meeting to discuss the idea.
  • Approved purchase of a shed for the Public Works Department. Allen also asked Steve Bailey, Public Works director, to put in a flower box.
  • Approved some village staff members to attend an EMS conference in Las Cruces.