Civil service members resign

Published 10:04 pm Saturday, February 14, 2009

The help wanted sign is going out at the Ironton Civil Service Commission.

Friday, two members of the board, Nick McMahon and Joanne McCown resigned, as did secretary Pat Lambert. That leaves commission member Dick Rice, who is ill.

In a telephone conversation, McCown said, “We became discouraged because there was too much interference to do our duties.”

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McCown would not elaborate about what interference the board had to contend with but added that she could not help but wonder if some of the interference was because she is the aunt of Beth Rist, a police officer who was terminated last year. The civil service commission handles testing for both the police and fire departments.

McMahon said he resigned because, after 15 years, “you just need a rest.” McMahon said, however, that he was discouraged because the job of police officer doesn’t pay enough to attract enough good candidates.

McMahon acknowledged the job of firefighter was a difficult one as well.

McCown’s term on the board ended Dec. 31 and she was up for reappointment. But city council opted to table the matter Thursday until further study.

The CSC was to have given an agility test Saturday as part of the process to fill two vacancies on the police force. Without the reappointment of McCown, some council members said the test would have to be delayed.

McCown indicated in her letter a hold-over office is valid until a successor is appointed and she cited a section of state law (ORC 3.01), but that was moot once she and McMahon resigned.

CSC members are appointed by council.

Mayor Rich Blankenship said Thursday the Fraternal Order of Police had filed a grievance against the city because the CSC had not scheduled a test for prospective police sergeants. There is a vacancy in the sergeant’s rank because Rist was fired.

Council president Bob Cleary said he would likely call a special council meeting early this week to discuss filling the vacancies. He said he thought the CSC was working in a timely fashion to give the necessary tests but that, “these things take time.”

“Now is an opportune time for citizens out there who would like to serve on a city board to come forward and let us know who they are,” Cleary said.

While the two board positions are not paid, the part-time secretary’s post is a paid job. Those interested in any of the vacancies may contact city council or the mayor’s office.