Council awards raise to park director
The Fairfield City Council met Monday and voted to give one employee a bonus and another a raise.
Both recommendations came from the Ways and Means Committee. The bonus went to city clerk Joy Messer for the additional responsibilities she has shouldered since former city administrator Kevin Flanagan resigned in April. The council voted unanimously to give Messer a bonus of $600 per month during the time there is no city administrator.
The council approved a $5,000 raise for park and recreation director Derik Wulfekuhle, bringing his salary to $57,371. Councilor John Revolinski, who is also chairman of the ways and means committee, recommended the council award the raise to bring Wulfekuhle’s salary close to that of other department heads.
Other members of the ways and means committee said the council would be able to give Wulfekuhle the raise without increasing his department’s budget because Wulfekuhle was able to find savings in this fiscal year’s budget. They also mentioned Wulfekuhle had received offers from his hometown’s park and rec department, and the committee members did not want to lose him.
Councilor Tony Hammes said he wanted to consider the raise during the council’s typical budget-approval process in February.
Councilor Daryn Hamilton said the council has approved salary increases outside of the normal budgetary process before, provided the department heads stayed within their annual budget.
Councilor Jessica Ledger-Kalen remarked, “We want to be more equitable and we want to reward an employee who has done a lot for the city.”
The council voted 6-1 to give Wulfekuhle a raise. Hammes voted against the motion, while Revolinski, Hamilton, Ledger-Kalen, Martha Rasmussen, Doug Flournoy and Michael Halley voted in favor of it.
In other news, the council voted 7-0 to approve a memorandum of understanding about the construction of the skate park in O.B. Nelson Park. The memo states the new skate park will be 4,500 square feet, slightly smaller than the 5,000 square feet originally planned. The memorandum of understanding is between the city, which will maintain the park after it’s built, the donor contributing money to the project, and the contractor hired by the city to build the skate park, Spohn Ranch of Los Angeles, California.
An anonymous donor has agreed to give $160,000 toward the project, which will pay for the skate park to be located where the sand volleyball court is now.
A representative of Spohn Ranch said this spring that the company is planning to build the skate park this summer and have it open to the public by late September or October. Once it’s done, the company will hold a grand opening featuring demonstrations from amateur and professional skateboarders.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, George Gallagher asked the city to reimburse him because he was charged for a full membership at the Roosevelt Community Recreation Center when he initially signed up for just a pool/spa membership, while money from a government agency was going to come in to pay for his full membership. The checks did not come through, although Gallagher said he was not aware of that, and he was charged for a full membership. The council did not reimburse Gallagher for his full membership.
Herb Wells told the council about properties in the 700 block of West Fillmore Avenue that are neglected for long periods of time and make the neighborhood look bad. Fairfield Fire Chief and code enforcement officer Scott Vaughan said he would look into the matter. He told the council that delinquent property owners receive one written warning per year from the city for all properties. After that, the city fixes the nuisance on the property and bills the property owner.