MONTESANO, Wash. – After taking heat over a drastic change to the city’s water leak policy, Montesano Mayor Ken Estes said last night that they will phase in the new policy that offers no forgiveness for leaks that can pull a water bill into the thousands of dollars for homeowners unaware of an issue. “We recognize that this is a change for our water customers. Therefore until January 1, 2014 in order to phase in this change, the city will allow a period of adjustment.
Under a policy adopted by council earlier this month, the city will charge a resident, even if they find an expensive leak.
Councilwoman Pam McElliot placed a review of that policy on the agenda of their next meeting, noting that it was more strict than neighboring cities.
MONTESANO, Wash. – Union grievances filed against the city of Montesano over employee suspensions have been settled, Mayor Ken Estes tells us he was notified yesterday that Teamsters Local 252 will not be going forward with grievances filed by three employees.
A statement will come out later in the week about that. It’s all done as far as we’re concerned and it’s time to move ahead, get back to work for our citizens and do the right thing.” – Montesano Mayor Ken Estes
Two employees were suspended for 5 days while another was suspended for 10 days. Estes said had the grievance gone to arbitration, it could have cost the city about $40,000.
MONTESANO, Wash. – Three employees of the City of Montesano have been suspended without pay after an investigation of their computers found inappropriate images, and thousands of hours wasted surfing the internet. Montesano Mayor Ken Estes said at their council meeting this week “I believe there has been a culture of time wasting, definitely caused by poor supervision, a lack of respect for public property, and an unconcern for public resources. I sincerely hope this culture is broken, that employees have learned from this experience, and now look forward to regaining the public’s trust.”
After confiscating eight computers from their Public Works department last summer, a forensic investigator uncovered about 8,000 hours of personal use over the past five years that included sexual content, fishing, sports, and car websites. The computers have been turned over to the Washington State Patrol to determine if any felony laws were broken.
All three employees told Mayor Estes that they were never told they couldn’t use the computers in that way, and that their previous manager had often participated. Estes noted that while a computer policy has been in place since 1997, there was no requirement to show that an employee had read it.
Two employees were suspended for 5 days while another was suspended for 10, all three have filed grievances with their union over the suspension. Estes estimates arbitration over the suspensions will cost the city another $40,000.
MONTESANO, Wash. – Snagging Montesano’s history, right off the shelf of a garage sale. Carol Beck of Elma was out garage sailing recently when she spotted, and recognized, a lost piece of the town’s history. She explained to the Montesano city council last night “I’m a teacher, so I’m interested in old books. I started thumbing through them and I realized they were a primary source of the establishment of Montesano. So I asked what he wanted and he said ‘oh, ten bucks?’ and I said ‘how about five?’ cause I’m a garage saler.”
Carol found 11 books written by Montesano’s city engineer from 1910 to 1914, and contacted the city. Mayor Ken Estes responded with a citizen appreciation award, and said the books will be put on display in the new city shop.
MONTESANO, Wash. – The Montesano City Council last night failed to overturn the mayor’s veto of the downtown plan, adopted earlier this month. Mayor Ken Estes vetoed the ordinance adopting the plan last week
, citing concerns over the city’s ability to enforce it.
Councilman Chris Hutchings said before the 4-3 vote “I think it’s a great document [but] we do have a comprehensive plan that was passed in 2008, it says it needs to be updated every five years.” Hutchings said the downtown plan should still be used as a vision, and suggested an update to the city’s comprehensive plan instead of new code.
MONTESANO, Wash. – Two union grievances filed against the city of Montesano are being dropped, Mayor Ken Estes tells us city staff learned Friday that Teamsters Local 252 will not be going forward with either the discipline or termination hearing of former public works lead Russ Burke. Both parties will split the cost of an arbitrator.
The city suspended, then fired Burke in June over allegations involving missing paint for striping city streets, and Mr Burke’s street striping business.