Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Smyrna Council addresses personnel issues, parking ticket concerns at meeting

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  • The Smyrna Town Council addressed to reoccurring issues – parking ticket fines and job descriptions – at the March 17 council meeting at town hall.
    Parking ticket fines
    WHAT WE KNEW Smyrna Town Council members voted at the Dec. 2 council meeting to have the Public Safety Committee look into the town’s system used to give residents parking violations. The motion was made after Mayor Joanne Masten received complaints from residents; the citizens received tickets for parking on the wrong side of the street during the town’s street sweeping time.
    Masten said the largest concern was the cost of the tickets. The town ordinance says the fine is $10, but police officers issued state tickets for $51.
    Then Police Chief Wil Bordley said up until a few years ago the fine for parking violations was based on town code; the fine is $10 if paid by a certain day, and $15 after. In 2010, the state changed the law for parking violations, making it a civil matter rather than a criminal violation. Bordley said the change made it so officers could no longer give warrants for unpaid parking tickets.
    “You have to appear in court, get a $15 fine you must pay and the town recoups that, but the state puts on fees on top of that, which brings the entire free to $51,” he said.
    Since then the Public Safety Committee worked on amending the ordinance to address the concerns.
    WHAT’S NEW Smyrna Town Council members voted on an ordinance to amend the town’s code regarding parking at the March 17 meeting.
    The ordinance puts the town’s code on parking violations more in line with the state of Delaware. If a resident receives a parking ticket in town limits, the resident will receive a civil summons and pay a fine of $15 and costs. Moreover, the ordinance waives the ability for a resident to pay an early penalty fee.
    Public Safety Committee Chair Larry Thornton discussed the possibility of using a boot to deal with unpaid parking tickets during committee reports; Councilman Robert Johnson had previously asked about the use of boots.
    “When we first looked at the topic of dealing with unpaid parking tickets, one option we looked at was the boots,” Thornton said.
    Thornton said the cons of using a boot include the cost – $1,200 each – and the issue of putting boots on cars, which isn’t an easy task.
    “We discussed the ordinance and thought it was the best way to go,” Thornton said.
    Addressing personnel needs
    Page 2 of 2 - WHAT WE KNEW The town’s Personnel Committee has been working on job descriptions and pay scales for town employees for the last couple of years. The topic of creating a position for a human resources manager was something some members of council hoped would be included in the 2014 budget. However, it was cut from this year’s budget.
    Councilwoman Andrea Rodriguez has asked for guidance in recent meetings regarding the position.
    WHAT’S NEW Smyrna Town Council members voted on a pay scale for both a human resources manager, and director of public works and electric at the March 17 meeting. Council also approved a job description for the HR position.
    The pay range for the director of public works and electric position is $74,235 to $98,175. The pay range for the HR manager is $52,600 to $69,564.
    Councilman John Embert said he isn’t opposed to the human resources position but said he doesn’t agree with having town staff work on a job description for a position that’s not currently funded.
    “We wanted it to be shelf ready for when we can fund it,” Rodriguez said.
    Councilman Robert Johnson said the position fits into the town’s “3-5 Year Plan” and the town needs the information to make the proper decision regarding the job.
    Mayor Joanne Masten said the HR position will be a topic discussed at the Saturday, April 5 Special Council meeting.
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