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Council member refuses to sign policy form

Staff writer

Marion City Council member Ruth Herbel has refused to sign a form agreeing to city policies and guidelines, arguing that the city isn’t following some of the rules anyway.

To make her point, she crossed out a line on an acknowledgment form before she gave it Monday to city administrator Brogan Jones.

The line she crossed out read “I also understand and acknowledge that my term with the council of the City of Marion, Kansas, is at will and hereby agree to the policies and guidelines of the City of Marion, Kansas.”

Herbel said Tuesday that Jones wouldn’t accept the form from her with the line crossed out.

“Until they start following their own rules, why should I sign it?” Herbel said.

Herbel specifically mentioned two policies in the handbook that she said the city wasn’t following.

One is that “pay raises shall not be routine or automatic and are subject to approval by the city council.”

That hasn’t been happening, Herbel said.

Mayor David Mayfield and council member Zach Collett — the only other council members at Monday’s meeting — disagreed.

The council approves raises when it signs off on budgets each summer, they said.

Herbel wasn’t buying that.

Money may be appropriated in the budget, but raises still should be approved by the council, she said.

Another of Herbel’s concerns is that the council is not reviewing a utility discount program for employees every year. The discount is 20%.

“The utility discount plan shall be determined by the city council on an annual basis,” the policy states.

The city is asking all employees to sign the agreements, Jones said.

The city last updated its policies in February 2023.

Jones noted that he wasn’t asked to sign anything when he started May 1.

Asked whether employees had seen the revised policies and guidelines, Jones said all supervisors had copies, and employees can get copies.

“No comment,” he said when asked what he thought about Herbel refusing to sign.

Last week, county commissioners spent more than an hour reviewing line-by-line proposed changes in county policies, which they later will vote on.

Marion’s policies were included in a meeting packet two weeks ago. Council members were asked only to acknowledge them by signing the form Herbel declined to sign.

Originally, Collett also declined, saying he had not had enough time to review them.

Last modified June 29, 2023

 

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