Galion use of benefits questioned

A heated discussion erupted regarding over an ordinance regarding employee benefits during the regular Galion City Council meeting Tuesday evening.

The ordinance is to clarify employee benefits, specifically, the benefits of the new public information (or communications) officer position after the ordinance was amended during a special council meeting last week to eliminate the position of a deputy auditor.

“We were told several times that the public information officer position would be part-time without benefits. Now we are being asked to approve a full-time position of 35 hours per week with benefits,” said council member Susan Bean.

Mayor Tom O’Leary said the position had been discussed several times before and he did not understand why Bean was bringing this up on the third reading of the ordinance.

Galion resident Bob Cerar said O’Leary did state on two separate occasions that the position would not be subject to benefits.

City treasurer Rodney Sparks said that under the Affordable Care Act, any position of 30 or more hours per week must include a benefits package or fines could be levied against the employee and employer.

“Any place that employs 50 or more people must have benefits available to all employees who work 30 or more hours per week,” said Sparks.

The ordinance passed with a six to one vote with Bean being the only one to vote against it.

An ordinance that was added to the council agenda regarding the sale of alcohol on public property was deleted from the agenda at the beginning of the meeting.

“The ordinance was in committee and needs to go back because there are some more details that need to be worked out,” said council president Carl Watt.

The next council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on April 26 at the municipal building.

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