STANTON— All the chairs at the table were filled during Tuesday night’s Stanton City Commission meeting with Elizabeth Pynaert working as acting city manager.
In the new year though, there will once again be an open seat.
After meeting in closed session, Mayor Larry Petersen announced “with regret” that longtime City Clerk/Treasurer Janet Davis will be retiring as of Jan. 17. Davis has been city clerk since 1988 and city treasurer since 1993.
With only one meeting before Davis leaves, commissioners discussed options for filling the position.
Commissioner John Seaman made a motion to look for part-time employees to split Davis’ job. He said splitting the position and having two different employees would add an accountability factor, but Commissioner Charles Miel believed it would also add more room for error.
“If we’re going to do something, I don’t want to take action right now,” Miel said.
The motion died without any support.
“Let’s have Elizabeth look into our options,” Commissioner Jane Basom said. “What is legal for us to do, what is illegal for us to do? Let’s have her present to us a couple hiring scenarios that we can be informed about and make educated decisions on at the next meeting.”
But with Davis’ quickly approaching retirement date, commissioners were concerned about finding a replacement in time, and Seaman continued to advocate for splitting up the job.
“Our charter tells what the clerk does and what the treasurer does. It does say they are two different positions, but it also says they can be combined,” Davis said. “If they’re elected they can’t (hold two different positions), but if they’re appointed they can.”
Commissioner Ken Burris said he would rather have a full-time city manager than a full-time city clerk/treasurer, but he wanted to know what Pynaert discovered before making a hiring decision.
Commissioner Krista Johnson favored keeping the positions combined.
“There’s value in having someone who is here full time. It provides a cohesiveness,” she said.
Basom made a motion to have Pynaert look into options for the clerk and treasurer positions. The vote tied 3-3 with Burris, Basom and Seaman voted in favor, and Johnson, Miel and Yoder voting against. Mayor Larry Petersen cast a tie-breaking vote and voted against having Pynaert look into options for the position.
“I would suggest that it would be in the newspaper directly that we are accepting applications for a city clerk/treasurer,” Petersen said.
Commissioners also discussed holding a special meeting, but they did not vote on the matter. The next regular meeting will be 7 p.m. Jan. 10.