Mayor Mike Seferian plans to more aggressively recruit city residents for seasonal help after members of council raised questions about hiring non-residents.
Seferian received council approval to hire several residents and a couple of non-residents for seasonal help at a council meeting on Monday. Among those hired was Nick Kaiser, of Lambertville, Michigan, as a maintenance worker in the water treatment plant for $8 per hour. Kaiser last summer had worked in the recreation department.
Councilman Terry Reeves wanted to know how the city finds people to hire for seasonal help.
Seferian said Kaiser had experience and knew about the opening at the water treatment plant.
“He was a very good employee, and very successful in the work he performed, and was punctual.” The city has had problems with others who were hired, but didn’t show up for work, he added.
“So knowing the history of this particular individual, that’s why it took place,” said Seferian.
Reeves said he would like the city to look for people from the Oregon area.
“That’s the only concern I have,” said Reeves. “I was wondering how we go about finding an employee.”
“In the past, especially in the cemeteries, we have hired people, and there were problems with some of them showing up to work,” said Seferian. “I think they’ve had some situations like that in grass cutting and maintenance work. So they try to find someone who has proven to work out. And that was the case in this instance.”
He also said the positions draw fewer candidates because the wage offered by the city is not very competitive.
“When you look at our pay scale compared to some other things that are out there that are competing with this kind of employment, we’re actually having a hard time filling the positions at the cemeteries. There were people there at one time who were not Oregon residents. We had hired Oregon residents, but they didn’t show up to work,” said Seferian.
“Do we go to the high schools, put something out that says we’re going to need seasonal help and possibly getting our youth or young adults from the City of Oregon?” asked Reeves.
Public Service Director Paul Roman said an effort is made to find local residents for the positions.
“I do tell my superintendents that we want local kids and people from the City of Oregon. But you can get an application at any time throughout the year. Usually we take applications around January and February. I don’t think they particularly advertise. When we do get applications, I do promote city kids. In this case, when it did come across my desk, I had the same question – Michigan? I thought, `Are there any other kids?’’
Roman said he had asked Joe Wasserman, head of the Recreation Department, about Kaiser after he had expressed an interest in the job.
“[Wasserman] said he was a good kid, a very good worker,” said Roman. “When you know you have someone who’s a really good worker, why not give him a job. But I do agree with you, Mr. Reeves. We do try to look for more City of Oregon kids first. But at the same time, we go through an interview process. You just look for good workers to see what you can find. We are conscientious to hire city kids.”
Administrator Mike Beazley said there are times when kids hired from outside the city are actually related to a city resident who suggested they apply.
“They have some connection with the community. That is usually how they end up here. Our department heads try to hire the local kids,” said Beazley.
“I’m not against Mr. Kaiser,” said Reeves. “I would just like to see local people in these positions, if at all possible. If there is some way, if we know this position will come up next year, we can send something out to the schools to maybe try and take applications, get something out there, so we can hire our local youth.”
“I will make that a point to the departmental heads,” said Seferian, so that they can get in touch with the schools if there’s a way they can post things. We’ll certainly do that.”
Besides Kaiser, council approved the following people for seasonal help:
• Robert Clements, Toledo, Street Division crew;
• Alexis Donnelly, Oregon, Street Division crew;
• Erika Parker, Oregon, Street Division crew;
• Jacob Zunk, Oregon, Fire Department.