Tag Archive for Public Works

Montesano Public Works employees settle union grievance over suspensions

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
Earlier this month the city suspended three Public Works employees without pay after an investigation of their computers found inappropriate images, and thousands of hours wasted surfing the internet.
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.

City employees suspended after investigation finds thousands of hours wasted online

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. 

Okeedokees Cafe in Cosmopolis to be demolished

COSMOPOLIS, Wash. – If you can call them landmarks, Cosmopolis is losing two at the entrance to their city in the coming months. Public Works Director Darrin Raines told the council the OkeeDokee’s Cafe, and a tarp-covered home across the street are being demolished. “Those two big eyesores should be taken care of here within about a month, month and a half.”
The Okeedokees Cafe has been empty for years, the other home belonged to a Cosi firefighter but has since sat vacant and awaiting asbestos removal to be demolished.
OkeeDokees Cafe in Cosmopolis

Photo provided by erika eve

Road work continues in downtown Montesano, expected to complete in October

MONTESANO, Wash. – The construction continues in downtown Montesano, Public Works Director Rocky Howard told the council at this week’s meeting that base rock will be down by the weekend, so downtown Montesano should be a little smoother than last weekend.
“The roads will be open on the weekend. September 12 roads and gutters are done, September 20th blacktop is placed.” Howard added that the Main Street Phase 2 project should be complete in October “First week in October we should be complete and ready for striping and some of the fine details.”

Hoquiam water rates on the rise, increases take effect in October

HOQUIAM, Wash. – Water Rates are on the rise in Hoquiam, and as City Administrator Brian Shay said last night “they’re definitely, fairly substantial” Shay said on average rates are increasing by $20 per month beginning October first. 
The new rates put the city more inline with what the feds want to see on grant applications. “It also takes us out of deficit spending, and allows us to make the big Public Works trust fund loan payment, which just that alone required us to make a $13.00 per month increase.”
Shay said that ‘bad math’ put the city off course a few years back. “Seven years ago the city actually lowered the water rate, but it was a big mistake. We had a study done that showed that the rates were too high based upon revenues and expenses – that was not acurate, so we should never had lowered the rates.”