The Village of Oak Harbor is looking for a new administrator.
Members of village council accepted the resignation of administrator Robert Pauley in the final moments of Tuesday’s council meeting.
Pauley sat silently at his desk adjacent to council as Mayor Bill Eberle read the resignation letter submitted to him a week ago. No one on council seemed surprised.
“Please accept this letter of resignation from my position as Village Administrator, my last effective day with the village will be February 14, 2014,” stated the letter dated Jan. 15. “I feel blessed that I have had the opportunity to work with some (exceptional) members of staff and members of council.”
Eberle said the village would advertise for the position immediately.
He added that he had someone in mind for the interim position but that he had not talked to the person yet.
Pauley left the meeting quickly and could not be reached for further comment. Council, however, entered into an executive session to discuss plans for an interim administrator and then to hire a permanent replacement.
Pauley, who signed a $72,155 annual salary contract with the village three years ago, was up for a possible contract renewal in March. He has been a village employee since 2009.
But his tenure with the village has not been a smooth run. Tensions have been building for months between the staff and Pauley over various issues. The recent departure of longtime public power division superintendent Barry Reau has been attributed to the strained relationship between employees and the administration.
Word of the resignation even hit the streets prior to the meeting.
Adam Snyder, a regular at village council meetings, has publicly criticized Pauley on numerous occasions.
Snyder stood at the beginning of the meeting and asked the mayor if Pauley was leaving the village job.
Eberle politely told him that he would address the issue later in the meeting.
Snyder then produced a copy of a story dated Jan. 6. that said the village council of Brewster, Ohio, in Stark County approved Pauley as its new village administrator.
The mayor reiterated the issue would be dealt with later.
Snyder then turned to Pauley and directly asked him if he had informed the Brewster council that he had been previously censured by the International City/County Management Association’s executive board for unethical behavior in 2009. The censure, of which he held a copy, noted that Pauley had accepted a job from the town of Sunbury, Pa. However, 10 days before he was supposed to begin work, he withdrew his acceptance with no explanation.
Shortly after, he began working for Oak Harbor. The association board explained that members who accept bona fide offers are expected to fulfill their commitments.
The mayor interrupted again. “This is not relevant to the meeting.”
“I think I should have a say after how I was treated,” Snyder responded, regarding his bouts with Pauley over a number of issues brought to council’s attention by Snyder at previous meetings.
The mayor sternly repeated “This is not relevant to the meeting” and Snyder sat down.
Insurance rates climb
Council approved renewal of the employee Medical Mutual health insurance program, including a tiered increase in the employee cost share: a 2 percent hike starting Feb. 1 and another 2 percent on Aug. 1.
Councilwoman Jackie Macko proposed the tiered increase instead of a single hike closer to 5 percent.
The core health plan is $5 biweekly for a single plan and $16.50 for a family plan. However, the program offers a number of plans based on service options.
The village had to stay below a 5 percent increase in order to keep its plan grandfathered from some of the changes enacted by the Affordable Care Act.
A third of the $33,000 annual plan increase is directly caused by fees created by the act, councilman Jim Seaman said.
The village will absorb the remainder of the costs not covered by the staff premium increases. The share breakdown was not available Tuesday.
Fiscal officer Debbie Carpenter noted that the council had prepared for a possible rate increase by building a cushion into the 2014 budget. But she could not answer any of their questions on the total sum available because the figures had been broken down by department. She promised she would provide them with the figures as soon as possible.