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Menahga City Council has lengthy discussion about training costs

By Nick Longworth

If you skip town with under three years of service with the Menahga City Council, you’ll likely be on the hook for your training costs.

On Monday, June 30 the Menahga City Council held a special meeting in the council chambers at 4 p.m.

The city council – in full attendance – began by reviewing the City of Menahga personnel policy handbook. In an attempt to pass a final draft, the council members went through the 39-page packet page by page, questioning items that were still either vague or subjective.

Lengthy discussion revolved around a single sentence on page 34, which states that “Employees must reimburse the City for training expenses if they voluntarily leave employment within 36 months of hire.”

“We’re talking about whether or not we should be reimbursed if (a council member or any other city employee) should decide to leave prematurely. If they leave within that 36 month period they would have to reimburse the city what their training has cost,” said Mayor Pat Foss.

“I understand what we’re trying to do, but I think that if we want someone to get licensed, and they don’t have to be licensed right now, I’m not so sure that they should have to pay that training back because we requested them to do it,” said city council member Kim Rasmussen. “The city has a budget for training expenses. When we’re requesting it, I don’t know if we should make them pay it back,” Rasmussen said.

The question was raised whether or not positions such as firemen – who take immediate training after employment – would also have to reimburse their costs.

“Maybe that is something that we need to define,” said city council memeber Roger Henstorf.

“Are you getting an advanced license or is this just a continuance of your education? It’s not as if there aren’t other jobs that have a requirement like that. An example being if you get an education from the Naval Academy or the Army Force Academy you owe the government five years; that’s a requirement. That’s payment for the education more or less,” Foss said.

“We’re asking if we help you get that training (whether it’s something you want to do or not), we’re rewarding you at the end of that training by moving you on the wage scale to a different level. Since we paid for that training, we should expect a return on that training.”

The fear is that small communities like Menahga end up being a stepping stone with free training.

Rewrites will be made. The final draft for the personnel policy will be written and approved at the July 14 City Council meeting.

In other news, the council also:

* Approved the 2014 election judges at an hourly wage of $10.50 an hour. They are Glenda Komulainen, Norman Hillukka, Laverna Ohlgren, Alvina Kytta, Char West, Dianne Robertson, Clarice Johnson, Donna Meyer and Amanda Lawrey.

* Approved the ability for the Menahga C&C to have five to seven campers as well as five to six tents over the area of an estimated six to seven campsites for the annual water show in Menahga.

Nick Longworth
A graduate from St. Cloud State University, Nick photographs and writes a variety of stories for nearly every section of The Park Rapids Enterprise. His duties also include section layouts and online content submission.
(218) 732-3364