Coal Grove lays off six employees

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 15, 2003

COAL GROVE - In a decision no one was happy to make, Coal Grove Village Council members voted 5-1 to layoff six employees and modify the positions of two others.

Following an hour-long executive session at Friday's special meeting - the third meeting in four days - Council adopted a resolution that will immediately layoff four full-time union employees: Brian Bryant, B.J. Hilgenberg, Kyle McKnight and Steve Patton,

the temporary position of bond clerk, held by Steve Easterling, and one full-time police officer that Police Chief John Goldcamp will name at a later date.

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The layoffs are for one year unless Council votes otherwise at a later date.

"I would like the people to know this is not politically motivated. It is economics," said councilman and mayor-elect Larry McDaniel. "It is something that had to be done."

Councilman William Bryant cast the dissenting vote and refused to comment after the meeting. Mayor Tom McKnight did not attend and did not return messages left at his home.

The plan also changes the position of water clerk, held by Nadine Malone, from a full-time position to a part-time position, not to exceed 24 hours per week.

Also, union crew leader Chuck McKnight of the water department will no longer receive an additional hourly pay for being a crew leader because the employees he supervised have been laid off.

"This was a fiscal emergency," Councilman Kenneth Pyles said. "We have held them on as long as we could."

Village Clerk/Treasurer Juanita Markel said that this action will cut expenses by approximately $159,751 per year and also give the village enough funds to pay the $47,699 debt service payment due Jan. 1.

Just like everyone else, Markel said it a shame that council had to make these layoffs, but that it should have happened a long time ago.

"No one is happy about having to lay anyone off, especially this time of the year," she said. "It is really a terrible thing."

Council attempted to meet in special session Thursday to adopt a plan, but the meeting was not legal because Councilman Randy Wise did not receive notification a full 12 hours prior to the meeting. At that time, Council listened to a plan proposed by local business owner Les Boggs.

Boggs originally approached council at Tuesday's financial workshop and said he could create a plan that could save the village more than $110,000 annually.

He said he thought he created a workable plan that would save the village more than $100,00 per year, make the debt payment, save jobs and provide adequate public services, which was the goals council and the clerk had set.

Boggs said he disagreed with Markel's assessment of his plan that it would not save the village money in the general fund because it met the outlined specifications.

But overall, it is time to move forward, he said.

"Council has made a tough decision that was difficult to make," he said. "I hope things turn around in a positive direction for the village."