RIMERSBURG – A split vote by Rimersburg officials appeared to have defused a dispute last week between the borough council and the borough’s maintenance workers.
During the council’s July 2 meeting, borough maintenance supervisor Frank McNaughton voiced concerns with the council’s plans to alter the clothing allowance the borough provides to its three maintenance workers.
Over the past several years, it was noted, the borough provided workers with $200 per year for work-related clothing, and also approved additional expenses every couple of years to buy muck boots for the employees.
The clothing allotment had traditionally began in July and continued through to the following June.
At last week’s meeting, councilman T.L. Stewart, chairman of the council’s personnel committee, recommended changing the clothing allotment to follow the calendar year — from January through December — and to count a recent purchase of muck boots as the employees’ clothing allowance for the remainder of 2018.
McNaughton raised concerns, saying the muck boots have always been in addition to the regular $200 allowance, and that by moving the starting date until January 2019, the workers would essentially lose out on $100 in clothing benefits.
Stewart defended the decision, saying that no other communities around offer similar benefits.
“I don’t want to cut back,” Stewart said, adding that the borough doesn’t know what the next year will bring as far as the budget is concerned. He pointed to the ever-increasing rise in employee health insurance as a major factor in budget decisions.
Despite approving a motion to make the clothing allowance changes, councilman Mark Deeter questioned if the borough council could show good faith to the workers and offer a one-time $100 clothing allowance to carry them through the remainder of the year. His motion was approved 5-2, with Stewart and council member Lark Palm voting in opposition.
In other business at the short-agenda meeting, the council adopted the Clarion County Hazard Mitigation Plan, and approved allowing the Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission to hold a public drug awareness program at the Rimersburg Community Building on Aug. 29.