Alderman says city never hired intended employee as public works director

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 4/28/21

During the April 13 Belle city meeting, Alderman Sundi Jo Graham asked The Advocate why Baretich was being referred to as Public Works Director since last July of 2020. 

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Alderman says city never hired intended employee as public works director

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During the April 13 Belle city meeting, Alderman Sundi Jo Graham asked The Advocate why Baretich was being referred to as Public Works Director since last July of 2020. 

The Advocate responded that Baretich was hired after the city advertised for a public works employee when former Public Works Director Nathan Abel stepped down in June of 2020. Following Baretich’s employment, he took over department head reports at the city meetings instead of Daryl Jenkins, who had previously been reporting as interim public works director. Baretich has also been leading water main and pump repairs as well as heading the meter projects.

“Yes, but he was hired in at a pay rate, and it was supposed to change once he received his license,” Alderwoman Sundi Jo Graham said, referencing a July 2019 motion she made to start Baretich’s pay at $15.50 an hour and once water and wastewater certifications were received his pay will be increased by $2 per hour.

However, aldermen never officially promoted Baretich to Public Works Director, she says.

“It has been brought to me by several different people asking if he is the public works director,” Graham said. “Here is the problem. When Tony was hired, he was hired originally to become the public works director after he got his certifications, which he went and got his certifications. To this day, we still haven’t made a motion to make him public works director. The city knows that, I don’t think the public knows that. We either need to decide if Tony is going to be our public works director or he is not. If not, we need to hire someone.”

Graham said they have treated Baretich as though he is public works director for months and have put the burden of the position on his shoulders. People assume the job title is his.

“The community needs to be aware that we don’t have a public works director and we need one so I think we need to revisit this,” she said.

No action was taken to either hire Baretich as public works director or to advertise for a public works director in the future.

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