City thaws hiring freeze

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The City Council ended the city’s five-year-old hiring freeze Tuesday.

The freeze for city and Plymouth Utilities full-time positions was adopted by the council in December 2010. That resolution cited “current and future budgetary constraints” in imposing the freeze.

Lifting the freeze was recommended by the council’s Finance and Personnel Committee.

Alderman Shawn Marcom, who chairs that committee, explained that the council is now better positioned to control personnel matters “through our budgeting process, which we feel we’ve gotten very good at and is very robust.”

City Administrator/Utilities Manager Brian Yerges recalled that the original freeze was adopted “because of unknown changes happening at the state in regards to revenue sharing.”

That uncertainty has cleared, he added, and the council now approves creating new positions or filling existing positions through its budget process.

“You’re already regulating staffing charts (through the budget process), so the question came up if this (freeze) resolution is really necessary,” Yerges told the council.

He pointed out that the freeze had only applied to full-time positions, not part-time or seasonal jobs, and had provided a procedure for exceptions to the hiring freeze.

Yerges noted that the Finance and Personnel Committee is considering adding a half-time human resources position in next year’s budget.

“This just gives Brian the ability to fill open positions in an expeditious manner as long as any position to be filled has already been budgeted,” Marcom said of lifting the freeze.

The council completed the an- nexation of the property at 2702 Eastern Ave. owned by Robert and Helen Abhold.

The property was annexed at the council’s last meeting, but with temporary zoning of B-3 business highway. After a public hearing at which no one spoke, the council made the zoning permanent.

City Attorney Crystal Fieber explained that while the property is currently residential, such use is allowed in the B-3 zone.

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