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Berger named Hobart clerk-treasurer as Smith returns part-time

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

HOBART – Erica Berger no longer has the “interim” title after being appointed clerk-treasurer Tuesday, Aug. 4, by the village board.

Berger was a deputy clerk-treasurer before becoming the interim clerk-treasurer April 24 upon Mary Smith retiring.

Berger will be on a six-month probationary period as the clerk-treasurer, effective immediately, at a salary of $28 an hour for the remainder of 2020 with future salaries to be set in the annual budget process.

Because the village has been down one full-time position with no deputy clerk-treasurer and the workload not dropping, Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said Smith expressed a willingness to return on a part-time basis for 16 hours a week.

Kramer said Smith would primarily handle payroll and accounts payable/receivable as an assistant to the clerk-treasurer.

He said Smith’s salary will be $23 an hour for the remainder of 2020 with her future salaries to also be determined in the annual budget process.

To provide a total of 32 hours per week in staffing besides the full-time clerk-treasurer, Kramer said the utility clerk position the board also created Aug. 4 will have a weekly limit of 16 hours at $18 per hour for the remainder of the 2020 with future salaries also determined in the annual budget process.

“We don’t have a job description,” he said. “That’s why we’re asking you just to create the position, but not post it yet.”

Kramer said the utility clerk could handle issues such as utility billing and well permitting.

“This is what I’m comfortable proposing right now,” he said. “Maybe we’ll come in the next year’s budget and say ‘one of those (part-time) positions has got to go to a .6 (full-time equivalent).”

Kramer said the village doesn’t pay benefits for a .4 FTE position, which also provides flexibility in staffing with someone working only two days a week.

“I’d rather undershoot and come back and say ‘we need more,’ versus telling someone ‘we hired you for three days a week, but we’re cutting you to two,’” he said. “I think we’re all confident there’s enough work to do it.”

During the interview process, Kramer said an applicant who could be hired would be asked whether an additional 8 hours would be acceptable to that person.

Committee restructuring

In other action, the board approved an ordinance amendment to restructure the village’s boards and commissions.

The amendment abolishes the Community Development Authority (CDA) and creates the Park and Recreation Committee.

Kramer said the CDA was able to be eliminated because the duties and initiatives outlined in its enacting ordinance are currently being performed by the village administrator and the village board.

He said Hobart residents will be sought to serve on the Park and Recreation Committee, which will have five members and one alternate.

The amended ordinance states Parks and Recreation Committee members will initially be appointed with two serving three-years terms, two for two-years terms and one member and the alternate for a one-year term, after which the terms will be for three years.

The committee would act in an advisory capacity to guide the development of parks and recreation opportunities in Hobart.

Kramer said the ordinance doesn’t specify when and how often the committee will meet, which will be determined in the future.

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