Holdeman wants more requirements for electricians

Marion Councilman Bill Holdeman wants all electricians who work within Marion to be state-board tested, including city employees.

Holdeman cited a Kansas statute that requires a state block test for all city licensed electricians.

City officials explained that those electricians who have been applying and receiving city licenses prior to the requirement of the state test are grandfathered-in and the city cannot deny them a license.

However, new applicants are required to show proof that they have passed the state block test for electricians before receiving a city electrician's license.

Holdeman also said city electrical journeymen should be required to be state-tested with the independent contractors.

City administrator David Mayfield told Holdeman he was talking about two different professions — one being a contractor who wires buildings and another being a city employee who works on electrical lines.

Holdeman then asked if the city could require new journeymen to be master electricians or have passed the state test. Mayfield said the city could but it would cost the city more in wages.

"I've lived in . . . (numerous) cities," Holdeman said, naming the cities in which he formerly resided, "and haven't experienced as many outages as I have in Marion."

City officials told Holdeman that when the entire city is without electricity, it is Westar Energy's responsibility, not the city's.

Mayor Mary Olson concurred that early Saturday morning's outage was throughout the county, not just in Marion.

In other business:

— City economic development director Jami Williams reported on the state of the city, reflecting on the events of the past two years since she has been with the city.

Since 2006, she noted 22 new businesses opening with 10 businesses closing. Prior to January 2006, when Williams was hired, there were 11 empty commercial buildings in town; now there are four.

Williams said, in her opinion, Marion wasn't dying but prospering.