ESCANABA — The Escanaba City Council officially approved a contract with Phil DeMay, who was chosen to be the next clerk and IT administrator for the city earlier this month.
After being selected by a 3-2 vote of the council on Dec. 6, DeMay began the process of negotiating his contract with council members Peggy Schumann and Michael Sattem, City Attorney Ralph B.K. Peterson, and Human Resources Director Bob Valentine. A draft version of the contract that resulted from those negotiations was presented to the council members Thursday.
After minor adjustments to the benefit scale and time off provisions included in the contract, the council took a deep look at the portions of the contract related to DeMay becoming a Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC). While the draft of the contract incentivized DeMay with a $5,000 pay increase for completing the certification, there was no language in the document requiring he obtain the certification as a condition of employment.
“I anticipate him doing this as soon as possible, not only because of the dollar increase but because he’s — and Mike (Sattem) will tell you too — he’s very enthusiastic about doing that and getting it all set,” said Schumann.
Council members had previously discussed giving DeMay three years to complete the certification, but Council Member Ralph Blasier raised concerns that gaining the certification in that period would be difficult or if not impossible for DeMay, who comes to the position with no experience in a municipal clerk’s office. Hours worked in a clerk’s office are counted towards the certification process.
“Keep in mind that the further we push that out the more elections that’ll be going through city hall,” said Mayor Pro-tem Ron Beauchamp, who argued for maintaining the three-year requirement.
After some discussion, the council voted to modify the language in the contract to remove the possibility of the $5,000 pay increase if DeMay does not complete the certification by Dec. 31, 2022. Only Blasier voted against modifying the language, stating he felt it was unnecessary.
The council also discussed a step increase in pay DeMay will receive after 90 days on the job. Schumann explained the increase was included because it is expected that after 90 days the city could reduce its costs for IT services contracted with DS Tech. Currently, the city pays $4,000 per month for services with the IT company.
No changes were made to the pay scale for DeMay, and the council ultimately voted to approve the contract with the adjustments. Only Beauchamp voted against approving the amended contract.
In other business the council set a date for a public hearing on an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA) partial property tax exemption for 1204 Ludington Street. The public hearing will take place Jan. 3.
The council also approved extending two leases with the Downtown Development Authority for one year. One lease was for the Center Court property and the other was for DDA parking lots. Both contracts will be renegotiated in the coming year.
In addition to conducting the regular business of the meeting, Mayor Tall issued two proclamations for retiring public figures. The proclamations recognized Community Foundation for Delta County CEO Gary LaPlant and State Senator Tom Casperson. Both men were given days in their honor with Gary LaPlant Day in the city being set for Dec. 31 and Tom Casperson Day being Dec. 21.