Salary ‘steps’ questioned by Sidney BOE

By Melanie Speicher - [email protected]

SIDNEY — The salary steps used when hiring a new employee for Sidney City Schools was questioned during Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting.

Board Member Jason Schaffner asked that one of the hires — Aaron Harris as a custodian — be pulled from the personnel issues and be handled separately. Schaffner said he had a problem with a new hire coming in at Step 5 instead of Step 0.

With Schaffner making a motion for the item to be heard, and Mandi Croft, seconding the motion, Schaffner then asked for the hiring to be amended from Step 5 to Step 0. Board member Linda Meininger seconded the motion so the board could discuss the issue.

“This was put out there a few years ago,” said Schaffner of an employee being hired in at higher than a Step 0. “John (Scheu, former superintendent) did this once.

“As a custodian, a new hire should be at a Step 0. They are not skilled labor like a teacher who has to have a degree,” said Schaffner.

Treasurer Mike Watkins said Harris has five years of experience as a custodian which is why Superintendent Bob Humble was recommending the Step 5. Harris is currently employed as a substitute custodian for the district.

“You want to hire him in higher than some of our current employees,”” said Schaffner.

“I’m not sure I agree with you on it not being a skilled position,” said Watkins, who reminded the board that all hires are done at the recommendation of the superintendent.

“We won’t get anyone to apply for the jobs if they have to start at Step 0,” said Croft.

“So what you’re saying is all classifieds employees should be hired at Step 0 no matter what their experience is?” asked Watkins.

Humble said that any employee hired by the district with five years of experience would start at Step 5.

Several of the custodians employed by the district were on hand to voice their opinions on the matter.

One custodian — Angela Carey — said she had worked for seven years at Wilson Health and when she was hired by the school district she started at Step 1.

Several of the custodians said if Harris is hired at Step 5, the school board will be replacing them.

Sidney Classified Employees Association President John Sammons said he worked with Harris as he performed his responsibilities as a substitute for the district.

“I walked through his areas and he’s not Step 5 material,” said Sammons, who is a custodian with the district. “He needs to be hired in at a step 0 so we can train him.”

Sammons said he’d like the prospective employee to be hired in on a 90-day probationary period.

“That’s not in the contract you have,” said Humble. “I’d love to have a 90-day window.

Humble was told the substitute doesn’t always show up for an assigned shift.

“”We can put a MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the 90 days into the contract,” said Humble “If he’s not coming to work now, then I withdraw the whole thing (recommendation to hire him).

“Right now he’s a sub and he’ll continue as a sub if he so chooses,” said Humble.

“We don’t want him to lose his job,” said Simmons. “We want to to train him for the job.”

Humble said he’ll use the next 30 days to draw up the MOU and then make a determination of Harris’ full-time employment.

“Please remember you’re dealing with a different superintendent now,” said Croft.

“The language (in the MOU) is the objective for a guideline going forward,” said President Bob Smith. “If we do bring him in at Step 5 and you decide to go, we’ll wish you the best of luck.”

After the discussion, the board voted on the original hiring recommendation and the amendment.

Both items were defeated by a 0-4 vote. Board member Michele Lott was not present for the meeting.

“You have 30 days to get things worked out,” said Smith.

The board’s next meeting will be Monday, March 16, at 6 p.m. at the Board of Education office.

By Melanie Speicher

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.