Council discusses city staff succession planning

By Sheryl Roadcap - [email protected]

SIDNEY — The Sidney City Council discussed succession planning at its Monday evening meeting.

Aside from four senior staff members retiring in 2021, planning is also necessary due to other potential senior staff retirements in the next five years (2022-2026). Council is also seeking a possible solution “to slow the brain drain in these key management positions,” City Manager Mark Cundiff noted.

In 2021 Cundiff, the law director, human resources manager and finance officer are all retiring. Cundiff added, all three police captains, all three assistant fire chiefs, the cemetery foreman, the utilities director, the transit manager, the engineering manager and the payroll coordinator would be eligible for retirement in the next five years.

City staff previously provided presentations on the topic in February 2019. It has been an ongoing discussion to plan for the imminent vacancies caused by the “silver tsunami,” as Cundiff put it.

He suggested a compensation study to examine the city’s entire benefit package for market competitiveness and compared examples of Sidney’s current wage scale with those in the Dayton area. Cundiff said the last comprehensive compensation study commissioned by the city was conducted in the 1990s.

Mayor Mike Barhorst questioned the potential cost of such a survey. Cundiff said the last time this type of study was conducted, it cost around $90,000.

At the end of the discussion, City Council directed Cundiff to begin planning for a comprehensive compensation study in 2022.

In other business, City Council also adopted the following four resolutions:

• To authorize Cundiff to apply for and execute a small cities community development block grant (CDBG) program year 2021 allocation. The CDBG is a federally-funded community development program administered by the state of Ohio.

Sidney is eligible for $150,000 of 2021 allocation grant funding, provided the city meets applicable program requirements.

Barbara Dulworth, community development director, said the grant will help with two activities. The first will provide funding to low- and moderate-income households to make necessary repairs to their sanitary sewer lateral. Owner-occupied households in the project areas that are determined to be income eligible will be able to apply for assistance with the cost to repair or replace their sanitary sewer lateral.

The second activity is re-roofing of the Senior Center of Shelby County’s building at 304 S. West Ave. The estimate of probable costs for this project is $205,000.

• To authorize Cundiff to submit a a $750,000 application to the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) for funding on behalf of the city of Sidney and Shelby County under a PY21 Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) program grant. This grant will be for the city of Sidney and Shelby County, with Sidney as the lead entity and grantee. The CHIP program provides funding for the improvement and provision of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income persons.

• To authorize the establishment of a municipal court probation services fund to be classified as a special revenue fund.

The additional probation fee would pay for specialized staff, purchase of equipment and services, reconciliation programs for offenders and victims, treatment programs including alcohol and drug addiction services as well as other similar expenses related to placing offenders under a community control sanction.

• To show opposition of a provision added to the state operating budget House Bill 110 that would retroactively change a temporary state law passed last year. The Senate essentially included the language previously passed by the Ohio House of Representatives in House Bill 157 and the Senate version Senate Bill 97, which would retroactively alter the operating language included in HB 197, adopted March 9, 2020, Cundiff said.

This provision would impact the language which instructs municipalities to continue withholding municipal income tax at a taxpayer’s place of work, even if the taxpayer is currently working from home in a different local jurisdiction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By inserting this language, Cundiff noted, the Ohio Senate Finance Committee has increased the potential financial loss to municipalities across the state by allowing for refunds to be requested all the way back to March 9, 2020, when HB 197 was enacted, impacting the closed tax year’s revenue collections.

At the end of the meeting Barhorst asked council members for their thoughts on continuing City Council meetings virtually. The consensus was to allow them to continue online as long as it did not interrupt the meeting.

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-214-6543.

Reach the writer at 937-214-6543.