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Joplin's city council votes on proposed changes to public works - KOAM TV 7

Joplin's city council votes on proposed changes to public works department

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Updated Nov. 18, 2013.

Joplin City Council tonight approved revised job positions and pay for those positions within the Joplin's Public Works Department. For a look at the city's salary plan, click here.

Updated Nov. 4, 2013.

Some structural changes within Joplin's public works department are one vote away from city council members tonight.  The proposed changes come after a public works employee was charged with theft.  Several other workers, including the public works director, resigned.

They are changes to Joplin's public works department to make the department work better for the public.

"We're limited, somewhat, in our charter because it spells out what departments we have and what the responsibilities are with those departments," explains Assistant City Manager Sam Anselm.

Because of this, there's even more specifics instead of eliminations to the charter.  The assistant city manager wants the public works' fleet manager to report to him instead of the public works director.  Anselm says this would create an unbiased form of accountability.  

The assistant city manager wants the stand-alone engineering department to move under the planning and development department.

"There would be one manager of the engineering division who would report then to the assistant public works director," says Anselm.

There's a proposed chief building official position with a more narrow focus than positions under the current building and code department.

"He or she would have the responsibility to make sure the building permit process is flowing properly as it should," says Anselm.

But not everyone at city hall is on board with another proposal to create a manager of neighborhood services division, who would be in charge of making sure routine maintenance is being done, like changing street light bulbs or repairing sidewalks.

The city's attorney says the proposed salary for this position is improperly classified, placing the proposed pay at the same pay grade as assistant city manager.

The city attorney says this creates an inequity in the pay system.

Both Joplin's attorney and finance director refused to sign off on this entire proposal to city council, and both did not want to be interviewed on camera this morning.

"It might be too high, relative to the pay plan.  But it's not too high, relative to the position," says Anselm.

A $48,000 to $73,000 a year salary for the neighborhood services division manager proposal would impact the budget next year.

Click the associated video to hear more about the incident that sparked these proposed changes.

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