Zoning Administrator Dan Sudrla told the Davison County commissioners Tuesday at the courthouse that his retirement is imminent and they should start looking for his replacement — or, possibly, replacements.
“Right now nobody knows what I do or where I do it,” he said.
Sudrla, 65, runs what has become a one-man department at the courthouse since his duties were split from the county equalization office.
Since the county has no written list of job responsibilities for him, Sudrla provided his own.
As the county’s zoning administrator, he answers questions on zoning and variances and also reports on issues of non-compliance. He creates official notices for newspaper legals and handles mapping for zoning and drainage. As drainage administrator and flood plain administrator, he handles applications, attends meetings and provides information to assist commissioners and boards with decision-making relating to those functions.
Finally, Sudrla also works as the county’s 911 administrator, making certain addresses comply with the county’s 911 addressing ordinance.
Sudrla recommended either attaching his functions to existing departments or hiring more staff to handle his multiple chores.
“You need to have a second person who knows something,” he said, noting that his office shuts down when he’s on vacation. Sudrla said he will give a month’s notice prior to his retirement, but he recommended swift action so he can help train his replacement.
“Pretty soon I won’t have a horse in the race,” he said.
Commission Chairman John Claggett said that once Sudrla is gone, a lot of institutional memory will go with him. He said the situation underscores, once again, the need for an official wage study that outlines employee responsibilities and wages.
The commissioners, however, have taken no official action to make that happen.
Auditor Susan Kiepke and Sudrla will work together to create a written job description, which will be used to advertise the position. That will be presented to the commissioners next week.
Cell phone dispute
In other county business, Emergency Management Director Jim Montgomery told the commissioners that he handles the county’s cell phones but he was never informed that former Weed Supervisor John Geidel was forced to surrender his cell phone after he moved to a non-management position.
Geidel, who now assists Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg, still needs a cell phone, Montgomery said.
Management was never a requirement for getting a county cell phone, according to Montgomery’s understanding of the policy.
The reality is that the county has no cell phone policy and no specific budget for cell phones.
Auditor Susan Kiepke did not know how much is currently being spent on phones. Phone bills are paid through the county’s “utilities” budget line. She said a survey of other counties showed that some counties pay for cell phones and others reimburse employees for using their own phones.
Claggett believes county cell phone use should be reduced.
The county pays for 26 cell phones, some of which are smartphones.
Commissioner Randy Reider said a cell phone is a tool. If Geidel’s supervisor believes a phone is needed to do his job, he should get one, Reider said. That’s how the commission left the issue.
In other business, commissioners:
• Unanimously denied a request from Puetz Development to refund interest penalties of $667 for 2011 unpaid taxes (payable in 2012) on the MTI Apartments at 1400 E. Spruce Ave. The apartments are built on land leased to Puetz through the MTI Foundation, explained Department of Equalization administrative assistant Betty Hegge, and there was a misunderstanding as to which entity was responsible for taxes. It was determined that the taxes are Puetz’s responsibility.
Puetz has since paid the tax bill of $13,818, which includes the penalty, but requested a refund. The commissioners decided that doing so would create an unfair precedent. The responsibility of which party is responsible for taxes is usually spelled out during a property closing, Commissioner Denny Kiner said.
• Heard a monthly report from Veterans Service Officer Steve McClure, who said county veterans received $7.2 million in benefits in 2012, through pension, education and other benefits. Kiner said the county needs to do a better job of advertising the various benefits available to returning veterans.
• Approved, at the request of Maintenance Supervisor Mark Ruml, a wage increase of 2 percent plus 50 cents an hour for janitor Leonda Doering, raising her pay to $9.17 an hour from $8.50 an hour.
• Approved, with a 4-1 vote, expenditures of $469.17 to Patzer Woodworking for changes to the counter in the Treasurer’s Office, which will give another work space for Treasurer Christie Gunkel and another handicap-accessible slot at the counter. Commissioner Randy Reider, who voted against the change order, said he saw the request as more of a “want,” than a “need.” He said the existing counter has provisions to handle the handicapped and there is no evidence that patrons are not being served in a timely fashion.
• Heard, during the citizen’s input segment, Mitchell resident Craig Bennett say that recent photos in the newspaper suggest that the Davison County Sheriff’s Office needs to trim down. “It would be nice to have a little bit more professional law enforcement across the board. There always needs to be a physical standard,” he said. Claggett said he plans to discuss the establishment of physical standards with Sheriff Steve Brink. He said local police and firefighters have fitness requirements and perhaps the Sheriff’s Office should establish some.Talk about it