The Caliente City Council Meeting was held on April 18.
The council approved the Silver State 300 April 19-20 pre-run and May 4 race.
Kathy LeFevre’s request to use the Depot’s south parking lot for a farmers market bazaar on the first Saturday in June through November was approved. The regular farmers market will still be held at the co-op on Thursdays. The bazaar will be for those who have home businesses and want to take part.
Rainbow Land & Cattle Company received approval for road access to its property on Clover Street, contingent upon meeting requirements from the Nevada Department of Transportation on the distance from Hwy 319.
Next, the council considered a recommendation by the hiring committee to hire MaryJo Shearer as the new city clerk.
Councilman Jamin Hunter stated that he believed Shearer, the candidate will “fit well in the office.”
Councilman Steve Rowe voiced displeasure with the overall hiring process, stating that when he saw the letter saying Shearer had been offered the job already, and had accepted, he was shocked because the city’s charter requires all hires to be approved through the council and that didn’t happen. He emphasized that he didn’t have a problem with Shearer’s hire but specifically with the way the hiring process was conducted. He commented that he didn’t even know the position had been filled until he received the letter and asked around.
City Attorney Franklin Katschke noted that the letter clearly stated Shearer’s hire was contingent upon the council’s approval.
There was a back and forth between council members as to the purpose of the hiring committee.
Rowe repeated that he wants the procedures clarified and standardized so they follow the city charter. Councilman Regen Gubler concurred and added that perhaps the policies in place should be reviewed so no one is blindsided in the future.
A motion carried to hire Shearer with a starting date of May 3.
Possible reimbursement of benefits for Stephen Fischer was then brought up for discussion. Fischer worked in Depot maintenance for four years before moving on to a job at CYC. After leaving the Depot, someone told him that according to the employee handbook he was entitled to benefits. Fischer said he had asked if he could have more hours so he could get benefits and was told no.
Katschke noted that when the position was advertised it was for 30 hours and no benefits. Councilman Rowe added that Fischer signed up for the job fully aware that he would have no benefits.
The council tabled the matter for a future meeting, deciding to contact Pool Pact for more advice on how to move forward.
Lincoln County Power District’s (LCPD) Dave Luttrell then answered questions about the possibility of contracting with the City of Caliente.
Hunter was concerned about a comment he said was made threatening to stop service to the city if it didn’t start moving on the contract.
Luttrell insisted he never said that. He said that he noted LCPD will always provide good customer service and assist during an emergency or poles leaning, trees that need trimming, etc. However, he said that he can’t send people down “anytime you have a little problem” such as a customer wanting a connect or disconnect.
Hunter asked for clarification on when LCPD will or will not provide connects and disconnects for customers outside the city.
Luttrell explained that LCPD will do so for retail customers but that Caliente has a service area designated by the state of Nevada and is responsible within those limits.
Gubler noted that the city hasn’t had a power person since October and LCPD has been filling in, doing an excellent job. He added that “The city doesn’t have a lineman or anything else. No one will come here for $23/hr. LCPD has been gracious enough to serve us.”
When the contract is signed between LCPD and the city, two more linemen will be hired. Attorneys for both sides are working on a contract.
Rowe said he’d like to see a public meeting to get further input.
Next, Adriana A Brackenbury was appointed to the planning commission.
The next council meeting will be May 2 at 6 p.m
The next planning meeting will be May 1 at 5 p.m.