Financial concerns keep two Lisbon employees at part time

LISBON – The village’s finances are such that council rejected requests to increase the hours of two part-time village employees.

The one request was from Mayor Dan Bing, who asked to meet with the personnel committee immediately following this week’s council as a whole meeting to discuss increasing the hours of his secretary, Alisa Gostey, who also serves as zoning board clerk, in addition to other duties.

Gostey was hired in November 2012 at 30 hours per week, but Bing recommended she be upgraded to full time at 40 hours per week. “Her schedule is so busy now she can’t get the work done,” he said.

Not only that, but Gostey believes there needs to be full-time presence in the mayor’s office to answer questions and inquiries, explain the zoning code and hand out applications.

“This office is crazy busy,” she said. “It’s the first thing people see when they come in village hall.”

Gostey said she has trouble keeping her hours under the required 30, especially in the aftermath of the June 11 storm that struck the village, which resulted in a significant accumulation of compensatory time since she receives no overtime.

Councilman Roger Gallo said village finances are such they need to investigate making cuts instead of adding costs. This was after Fiscal Officer Tracey Wonner reported during the regular meeting that income tax collections – the general fund’s primary source of funding – are still running behind 2013 levels, when the general fund ended with an $83,000 balance. She said Lisbon could end the year with a general fund carry-over balance of $60,000 or less if the revenue and spending trends continue.

“We’re only $60,000 from being in the red … What happens if we can’t meet payroll?” Gallo said.

Councilman Tom Darcy agreed. “It’s something that’s tough to think about when we’re trying to tighten our belt,” he said.

“It’s in your guys’ hands, but I think the village needs a presence in here,” said Bing, who does not maintain any set hours during which the public can stop by to meet with the mayor on matters.

Gostey works from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with a half hour off for lunch, while village hall is open until 4 p.m. Gallo suggested the part-time clerk in the water department be cross-trained to fill in for Gostey the final 90 minutes of each day.

“They can’t keep up with their work either,” Gostey said of the water department.

“I don’t believe it,” Gallo said, adding he believes the village of 2,821 residents has too many employees for its size.

Gostey said she will continue doing her best within the confines of her 30 hours and may stagger her work hours to better accommodate the public, but “the work will just keep piling up.”

Council as a whole appeared to be of the same opinion when Councilman Joe Morenz recommended increasing the hours for park manager Dana Blackburn during the fall and winter.

Blackburn was hired in February for the new position, which was set up to have the manager work up to 30 hours per week in the spring and summer when the community swimming pool is open and 10 hours per week the rest of the year.

Morenz suggested Blackburn be used to assist other departments when needed during her off season, such as helping with the fall leaf collection.

Gallo said he was opposed to the idea. “She has a defined role … Her role is park manager,” he said.

No action was taken, but Morenz asked his colleagues to at least give it some thought. “I know she’d like some extra hours in the winter,” he said.