OS council OKs city clerk position, street repairs

  • Fri Jul 19th, 2019 2:30pm
  • News

By Scott D. Johnston

For Grays Harbor News Group

At its July 8 meeting, the Ocean Shores City Council voted 6-1 to seek a City Clerk, an office that has seen its duties split among three people since former clerk Rachel Carl resigned in March, 2018. In other action, the Council approved about $215,000 in road repairs, to begin next month.

After Carl moved from the area 15 months ago, many of her functions were handed to City Finance Director Angela Folkers. She has been supported by Sandy Madison, who went from part-time public records clerk to full-time. The city also hired a full-time human resources administrator.

But the number of public records requests has skyrocketed in the past couple of years. Folkers said the overall situation meant there were simply no longer enough hours available to get all functions of both departments accomplished. This led Council member Jon Martin to launch a discussion about hiring another records clerk, at the June 24 meeting. The possibility of filling the City Clerk position was raised, and Folkers was asked to come to the next meeting with a look at costs.

She told the Council at the July 8 session that, with wages, benefits and other costs, a City Clerk would end up costing about $10,000 a year more than a public records clerk, a move she strongly endorsed. Public comment and a lengthy discussion among Council members and Mayor Crystal Dingler followed.

Martin said he wanted more time to look at what work a City Clerk would be doing. Council member Kathryn Sprigg said the City should look into record retrieval software, and member Steve Ensley said someone would still need to help set up and operate any such system and he feels a City Clerk is needed.

Dingler told the North Coast News that the City Clerk’s office had already grown from 1.5 full-time positions to 2.25, and that the hire will move the total to three, a net increase of three-quarters of a position, as Folkers goes back to full-time Finance Director.

“Angie has done a stellar job but she already had a job,” Dingler explained. “We’re growing fast, and this just doesn’t all just happen on its own.” As an example, she noted, “We’re pushing 90 employees. To not have an HR department would be crazy.”

Madison’s position and the new HR clerk were already in the 2019-2020 budget, as was part of the City Clerk’s position. Folkers said the job and all related costs will amount to around $145,000 annually.

Ocean Shores also recently began seeking an assistant police chief and a lead city planner. The Police Department is substantially under budget due to not being able to fill some entry level officer positions. An increase in the fees for the rapidly escalating number of lot clearing permits, and likely future fee hikes, will help pay for the planning hire.

Also at the July 8 meeting, Council members voted 7-0 to award a $215,000 street repair contract to Rognlin’s Inc. of Aberdeen and related project management costs of $24,000 to Gray & Osborne of Olympia. The total is slightly less than half of the $600,000 for the “Pavement Preservation Small Works Project” in the city’s two-year budget.

Project documents indicate 22 locations slated for repairs. New City Engineer Robert Lund cautioned that, until work begins on an actual site, the true size and complexity of the repair has only been estimated and could be significantly larger. Therefore, he explained, it is possible not all of the planned repairs will be accomplished this year.