New village administrator named by councilPublished 10:34am Tuesday, June 10, 2014
The discussion was heated at times.
The council of the Village of Coal Grove had a special meeting on May 30 and again last week for the purpose of appointing a new village administrator. The issue wasn’t the person being appointed, the job duties or even pay; it was whether water plant operator Kevin Markins would remain a member of the union.
“I’ve been in the union since 1980 and I’m not going to leave it,” Markins, who officially became administrator at 7 a.m. on Monday, said. “We’ve got a good bunch of guys here.”
After a back-and-forth among council members — among one another and village employees — and a 90-minute executive session council voted to approve Mayor Larry McDaniel’s recommendation and allowed Markins to remain a member of the union. Historically a current union member as an “additional duties position” filled the village administrator position.
Prior to the vote, however, village counsel Mark McCown drafted a memorandum of understanding between the village and the union. The MOU allows for Markins to continue working as water plant operator; receive $2 more per hour; and in the event he is removed as administrator he retains his position as water plant operator.
Prior administrator Mark Dean retired recently after serving in the position since Jan. 26, 1999. When it became time to name his replacement, Markins was the obvious choice. But, there was a caveat: Markins could no longer be a member of the Ohio Council 8 AFSCME and Local 771A AFL-CIO union if he accepted the position.
One village employee, 25-year water crew leader Chuck McKnight, vocally expressed concern about that stipulation because if Markins became nonunion, the already shorthanded village would lose an essential employee. Three village positions were vacated and never filled.
“He has Class III water and sewer certification,” McKnight said. “Those guys are hard to find. We don’t have enough people as it is and (council) is trying to take away another one.”
Markins has previously served as village administrator on an interim basis. When Dean was injured in 2003, Markins filled the role for nearly two years.