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Councilmen want regular reviews

December 28, 2012
By KATIE SCHWENDEMAN - Staff Writer ( , Morning Journal News

EAST PALESTINE - Keeping in line with tightening loose ends in the village, council members want to make sure the charter is reviewed in a more timely manner.

The discussion came up during the regular council meeting before members approved an employment agreement for village manager Pete Monteleone.

Monteleone had previously been appointed for the position by council, but village solicitor Shirley Smith said council wanted an agreement in place as well.

The agreement describes his overall duties, stipulates when performance evaluations will be given and how retirement and other benefits will be executed.

The brief charter discussion resulted after councilman Don Elzer asked why a term limit wasn't included in the agreement. Smith said term limits are not required according to the village's charter.

She explained that Monteleone's agreement would end if he chooses to resign or council opts to have him removed.

Councilman Fran Figley then asked who was responsible for writing the charter, and resident Stephen Hill, who formerly served on the charter review committee, estimated it was written in 1991 or 1992.

The charter was reviewed every five years since then, and all changes to the document must be approved by a ballot vote, he added.

The committee is responsible for recommending the changes to council, and those changes are then put before voters.

Smith noted that in 2011 council put an amendment before voters to add language to the charter that the police and fire chief positions could not be eliminated. The amendment passed by 63.1 percent.

Figley then asked whether five years was too long for the committee to go without meeting and suggested reviews be conducted every two years instead.

Smith said she would look into whether that could be changed.

Council then approved the agreement for Monteleone, with his annual salary set at $65,000. He will receive all annual raises given to other full-time non-union employees, although the village is currently in a wage freeze.

Performance evaluations will be given every year in October and Monteleone will receive a summary of those evaluations from Smith, according to the agreement.

In other business, council appointed a new member to the East Palestine Library Board. The library turned to council to appoint a new member after the state passed legislation earlier this month expanding membership from six to seven.

Following a brief executive session council appointed Jim Wilson to the four-year term on the board. He will join current members Kevin McKinstry, Karen Mitchell, Margaret Brittain, Carolyn Wilkovich, Stephen Hill and Geraldine Guy. Board members are not paid for their service.

Wilson spent six years as Library Media Center Director for the village school district. In his resume to council, he stated that he would like to expand the working relationships between the school and local library to benefit "not only our students but that of the local community members through the exchange of ideas and resources."

Councilman Jim Tyger abstained from the vote due to being related

Council also approved:

- A one-year employment agreement for Shirley Smith. The annual agreement is presented at the end of each year and is not new for the village solicitor position. Smith will earn $15,600 a year.

- Supplemental appropriations for 2012.



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