MOUNT VERNON — Adopting rules of conduct and setting committee assignments took up the bulk of Mount Vernon City Council's brief meeting on Monday.
The only change in the rules governing council sessions involves public participation. Council members agreed that at the beginning of the legislative session, citizens can speak for four minutes on any topic relating to city matters. Council can agree to extend the time for another four minutes if it wishes.
Previously, citizens had a three-minute time limit and were restricted to talking about items not appearing on the legislative agenda.
Other organizational business included electing Second Ward Councilman John Francis chairman pro tem, appointing At-large Councilman Tanner Salyers as the city's representative to Main Street Mount Vernon and the Shade Tree and Beautification Commission, and appointing At-large Councilwoman Janis Seavolt to the Convention & Visitor's Bureau.
Council retained the seven standing committees from previous years and made committee assignments:
- Utilities — Tammy Woods, chair; Seavolt, Salyers, Francis
- Police, Fire, and Civil Defense — Seavolt, chair; Samantha Scoles, Salyers, Mike Hillier
- Finance and Budget — Francis, chair; Hillier, Seavolt, Woods
- Parks and Lands — Salyers, chair; Julia Warga, Scoles, Seavolt
- Streets and Public Buildings — Warga, chair; Francis, Woods, Scoles
- Planning and Zoning — Hillier, chair; Salyers, Warga, Francis
- Employee and Community Relations — Scoles, chair; Woods, Hillier, Varga
Council took the following action during its legislative session:
- Approved as emergencies legislation allowing the sale of property through the internet, reappointing Ken Reynolds to the Local Board of Tax Review, and appointing Brock Evans to the Recreation Board and Keith Burley as alternate community member to the Utilities Commission
- Gave a first reading to legislation extending the agreement to combine the city health district with the county; reappointing Corby Wise to the Historical Review Commission; and compensation for the safety-service director ($86,095), members of municipal court (clerk of court, probation officers, and probation administrative assistant/deputy clerk), supervisory personnel, police and fire supervisory personnel (police and fire chiefs and police captain), and the property maintenance enforcement officer ($46,133)
The ordinance setting the compensation for supervisory personnel includes a $10,000 increase for the assistant law director. During an Employee and Community Relations Committee meeting, Auditor Terry Scott and Law Director Rob Broeren said the increase is needed because of the added emphasis on prosecuting domestic violence cases that Assistant Law Director Brittany Whitney is handling in addition to her other responsibilities.
The increased responsibilities include reviewing the body camera footage in each situation and reaching out to victims as required by Marsy's Law. Whitney also has undergone extensive training and is sharing that training with law enforcement. She also heads up the city's recently created Domestic Violence Unit.