SALEM -Salem Parks Commission member Ken Schrom suggested an idea of building stockades in the parks, possibly as a form of punishment for those who spraypaint graffiti and vandalize property.
Schrom raised the issue under new business at the commission meeting Wednesday night, saying he loves to read the history of the country and also liked to read about what they did to people who broke the law.
He said he's wanted to "build stocks in both parks" since he's been on the commission. He said people in town are getting "sick and tired" of the people spraypainting and vandalizing.
He said he already talked to Mayor John Berlin about the idea and if all three of the commission members agreed, it could go to the attorney of council, which would be the city law director. Schrom said the city would have to find a way to implement it.
"The city of Salem could do this on their own and bring back the way we treated people in the 1700s," Schrom said, adding he's just throwing the idea out there.
Commission Chairman John Panezott said there's just too many things they would run into legally.
In talking about the use of the stockade during colonial days, Schrom said "the idea was to put somebody out there and embarrass them to tears...everybody gripes about lawbreakers but nobody talks about what to do. We don't have laws that really dig into your spinal column."
Commission member Terry Hoopes said he didn't think the American Civil Liberties Union would care for the idea, then quipped, "are we going to have dunking and flogging next?" He said it would fall under cruel and unusual punishment.
"Yours is a rather novel idea, but I don't think it would be good for the park," Hoopes said.
Panezott said the idea should go to a lawyer first, then Schrom suggested just putting the stockades in the parks for something historical. No action was taken.
Under continued business, Parks Director Steve Faber reported council will likely take action on the new salary for the recreation supervisor's position during the first meeting in January. Last month, the commission called for an increase in the starting wage for the position which has remained unfilled since last June after the supervisor retired. Anyone new hired into the position would revert to step one on the pay scale, which was set at $7.87 per hour, an amount less than what a lifeguard makes.
Since the position is supervisory and considered second-in-command to Faber, he suggested an increase to $10.87 for the starting wage, with step 2 at $11.30 an hour and step 3 at $11.63 per hour. The commission agreed and the Finance Committee of city council agreed to recommend the increase for an ordinance before council.
The commission also agreed previously to be part of the proposed performance audit, which would look at how departments in the city operate and whether they could make changes for cost-savings.
Panezott said they've always bragged about how the parks department personnel and commission are good stewards of taxpayer money, but this could give proof to it. He said it could also show them something they don't see.
In the area of maintenance, Schrom asked if they were getting the equipment ready for spring. Faber said maintenance personnel have cleaned out under the decks of the mowers and greased some parts, but the mowers aren't taken apart like they were in the past. He said it's a matter of mechanical know-how that they don't have that they had before. He said they're currently focusing on removing low limbs from trees.
The commission entered into executive session for personnel, with no action to be taken.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org