City government faced with retirements and job changes in the last few months

Good men and women are never easy to find, especially when you need a bunch of them at one time.

And heading into December, the city of Aurora was faced with having to replace 66.7 percent of its staff. That’s four out of six employees.

Three employees were retiring. A fourth accepted another job.

Resignations are effective Dec. 31 for Public Works Superintendent Bob Southard, Public Works Assistant Ricky Sellers and Finance Officer Jan Vlcek. Vlcek’s job was part time. The others are full time.

Otis Phillips of the city’s wastewater treatment plant, resigned at the end of October to take a job in Salem.

The city had anticipated the retirements, but Phillips’ leaving was a surprise.

“He got a really good job opportunity,” Mayor Bill Graupp said.

The council’s job was not only hiring replacements, but also to determine how the jobs themselves would be structured.

It first had to gauge the market, people available and going rates. The pay for one position might dictate whether another position might be full or part time.

But at Tuesday night’s council meeting, everything fell into place.

The council hired city clerk Mary Lambert as the new finance officer, effective Jan. 1.

City volunteer Ray Lowe will become the full-time public works assistant.

And the city has offered the job of public works superintendent to Darrell Lockard, of Creswell. Lockard works part time for the city of Coburg and for many years served as the main trainer for the Oregon Association of Water Utilities.

State law requires the city to have someone holding a class 2 water treatment certification and someone with a class 2 water treatment certification.

Lockard fills the bill by holding both certifications, Graupp said.

Now council must decide if there is room for another employee and whether that person be someone in public works or someone part time at city hall.

“Everything depends on how we redo the budget,” Graupp said.

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