City without finance director again

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

It what could possibly be the shortest term for any city finance director, Robin Robinson has rejected the job of city finance director less that two weeks after she was named to the position by the city council.

The council was informed of Robinson’s decision during an executive session of the Ironton Finance Committee Tuesday night, no reason was given for her declining the job. Robinson had not yet begun work at the city.

The city will again try to find the best candidate for the position from a field of several applicants that had previously applied for the job.

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Some of the city’s longtime wrecking providers were also on hand Tuesday to voice their complaints about changes to the city’s towing policy.

Under the city’s new plan, wreckers would be paid $40 per tow, less than the $55 some had previously recieved, and would be required to meet minimum response times. During a meeting in late March, one wrecker had agreed to the lower cost and two others joined in when they a second meeting with the chief.

“Every one of them said that they could make money at $40, everyone of them said that,” Ironton police chief Jim Carey said.

Carey said that right now, an average of 37 vehicles were being towed per month, which could generate as much as $35,000 annually in revenue for the city. He said that money could also be put toward giving additional training to the officers of the police department.

A few providers that the city had worked with previously had complained that they had been excluded from the selection process because they had not immediately agreed to the city’s terms. But Carey said that he did not purposefully exclude any tower.

“I did not intentionally pick one wrecker service, everybody was given a chance to discuss it,” Carey said. “There was no secret meeting and everybody was notified.”

Local tower Jim Howard said that after the process was complete he was informed that the wrecker companies could have their pay reevaluated, a new piece of information to him.

“We’ve been told that in two or three months they might be back to where they were before or that they might get a raise,”

Howard said. “We were never told that. I don’t mind helping the police department out, I’ll do my part if you guys could promise that it would go back how it was.”

Finance committee chairman Bob Cleary said that the city wouldn’t be able to make that commitment.

“We can’t promise that,” Cleary said. “I can’t sit here and promise that in three months you’ll be up to $55 or $60.”

Mayor John Elam defended Carey’s methods, saying that he didn’t believe that he had any ulterior motives.

“My impression was that he wanted to be fair all around,” Elam said. “I think that he would want to reevaluate if the price of operating may it cost-prohibitive.”

Cleary said that he expected that the changes would pass at Thursday night’s meeting of the council, but that the price could be adjusted later if needed.