Italy City Council discuss establishing a citizen complaint form

The Italy City Council met on Thursday night in a work session to discuss changes to several city policies and ordinances. Mayor James Hobbs, Ed Voss, City Attorney, and several department heads were also in attendance.

No action was taken on any item discussed because it was a work session. Changes and revisions to policies and ordinances and new policies may be drafted for adoption at a future city council meeting.

There were several items on the agenda to discuss including establishing a citizen complaint form. When a complaint is filed by a citizen, the citizen would fill out a form in writing. The form would be forwarded to the department head in charge of that employee for investigation. If the complaint is regarding a department head, the complaint form would be forwarded to the city council. It was suggested that if the form is not filled out completely, the complaint should be deemed unfounded.

Procedures for city council meetings were also discussed. It was stated that the only time a citizen may address the council or mayor is if they sign up to speak during citizens comments and would be given three minutes to speak. A citizen may also address the council if they had requested to be placed on the agenda. It will not be acceptable for a citizen to speak out during the council meeting at any other time and would not be allowed unless the council asked the citizen a question. A citizen will also not be allowed to address a city employee directly during the meeting.

The council also discussed setting policy regarding employee per diem for City travel. At present there is no policy regarding per diem. Department heads have city credit cards, but other employees do not. After a lengthy discussion Councilman Rodney Guthrie suggested they set per diem at $40 per day and the City get another credit card with a $1,000 limit for employees to use for lodging, travel and food when on city business.

They also discussed changes to the policy manual and revisions to several job descriptions for the council’s review and future approval. Mr. Voss will make the suggested revisions for council approval.

Guthrie suggested several revisions and corrections to the policy manual. For instance, the current manual states the Police Chief and Public Works Director report to the City Administrator. He explained these positions are equal and it should state that all three department heads report to the council.

He also shared a document with suggested changes to policy regarding limiting the authority of the mayor. He suggested several duties and authorities be moved from the mayor to the city administrator or the city council. The council members were reminded that State Statutes govern the mayor’s duties and authority and city policy cannot supersede the statutes.

“We should look at several of these,” stated Greg Richards after reviewing the document.

Teri Murdock, City Administrator, requested the council give her more time to prepare the monthly agenda. She stated at present the deadline was 5:00 p.m. on Friday and the agenda must legally be posted by 6:00 p.m. on Friday before the meeting on Monday. She stated this did not give her enough time to prepare the agenda for posting and preparation of the packets for the mayor and council members. It was suggested this deadline be changed to Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. prior to the Monday council meeting.