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Stevensville police chief pleads for a records clerk

By Michael Howell

 

Stevensville Police Chief James Marble recently sent a memo to Mayor Jim Crews pleading for a full time Police Records Clerk, “or at least 20 hours per week.” Mayor Crews read the memo aloud to the Town Council at its September 25 meeting in which a discussion and/or decision on the topic was on the agenda.

 

In the memo, Marble states, “I feel that my budget has been systematically hacked over the years while other departments have grown. How many employees do we have in water/sewer and streets/parks? How many positions have I lost due to budget cuts? The workload hasn’t decreased, yet my manpower has. If there is work to be done, then someone should be doing that work. Right now, there is work not being done which will have to be done soon. This will require that I pull someone away from their regular job (probably me) to do the work that must be done. It is the typical robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario. We have to stop doing business that way.”

 

At the meeting, Marble told the Council that the Police Department had an official records clerk starting in 2004 but his department underwent several budget cuts and the position disappeared.

 

“So then we combined,” he said, “and that didn’t work either.” Under the current arrangement a single clerk serves the police department, the fire department and the town’s administrative office with her time being split according to agreed upon proportions. But Marble claims the arrangement is not working out. He wants the town to split the job up by departments and let each hire their own clerk, either full-time or part-time.

 

A motion was made to hire a part-time Police Records Clerk for 20 hours per week by Councilor Paulette Floyd, but no second was forthcoming from either Robin Holcomb or Stacie Barker and the motion died. Councilor Bob Michalson was absent.

 

In the Council comment period at the end of the meeting, Councilor Stacie Barker said that it was budget time and the council was crunching numbers and budget decisions needed to be made.

 

“Just a few weeks ago,” she said, “we found out that we had some money we didn’t know we had. Now we have department heads coming back for more money and creating jobs that we have no way of funding.”

 

Barker said that the Council had been working hard and getting a lot of good things done but when they start saving money instead of being in the hole all the time, they get disparaged and accused of being ‘out of touch’ with the town’s real needs.

 

She said that they have been trying very hard, “but we have been shut down and degraded. I’m tired of being put down by certain town employees. I feel we have listened to their many concerns and all their issues. But when do we as a Council receive any respect,” she said.

 

Barker said she took on the job of council person not as a job but as a service to the town’s people.

 

“When are we going to work together as a whole and have respect for each other,” she said.

 

The issue has been placed on the agenda for discussion/decision again at the next meeting scheduled for Monday, October 2, too late for publication. That meeting was rescheduled from its regular meeting date which coincided with Columbus Day.

 

The Council unanimously approved Eagle Scout William McLean’s project request to repair and restore the benches and tables at River Park. McLean is gathering donations of materials and plans to start the three-day project on October 19. The Council approved the project pending review and approval by the Park Board.

 

Discussion about repairing and restoring the River Park permanent pit toilet was tabled to October 2, pending an inspection of the toilet by the town’s streets and parks superintendent.

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