Council OKs hiring police officers, helping clean up MSP mold

After spending more than two hours on the conference center issue, Jefferson City’s Council Monday night adopted two resolutions and passed two bills.

The 10-member council approved the police department’s request to hire two more officers, moving some money from the “Vacancy Savings” category back into the department’s budget for the second half of the city’s business year.

“We’re looking at about $52,000 for two officers for this fiscal year,” Interim City Administrator Drew Hilpert explained.

He said the department is “down five vacancies due to just natural attrition, (and) also had an unprecedented amount of injuries, military leave and medical leave. Their guys are working a lot of overtime and are, frankly, burnt out and tired.”

Testing for applicants is scheduled within the next few months, Capt. Doug Shoemaker reported.

The council members also unanimously approved a resolution shifting some money within the budget to make $1 million available for the city’s share of cleaning up mold at the Missouri State Penitentiary Redevelopment site.

The state government also has committed $1 million to the project, after the mold build-up forced the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau to halt its popular prison tours.

The money approved Monday comes from the city’s share of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry’s planned multi-purpose building, but the resolution restores those funds to the department in the city’s 2015 budget.

The Parks and Recreation Commission endorsed that plan last week, Director Bill Lockwood and Second Ward Councilman Shawn Schulte both reported.

“They’re happy that the resolution states the Multi-Purpose Building remains a top priority by the Council,” Schulte said.

Without voting or objecting, the council endorsed Hilpert’s proposal to fill the vacant Public Works director’s post through an internal search among the city’s current employees.

“Staff believes — and I think Council supports the concept — that we can reorganize and still be a successful department,” Hilpert said.

Matt Morasch has been interim director since Roger Schwartz resigned last March.

Hilpert said applications from professional engineers interested in the job would be taken from today through Dec. 5, then a four-member selection committee would review the applications and — if there are more than one — do interviews before Dec. 13.

Hilpert expects to present the selection at the Dec. 16 Council meeting.

With two unanimous votes, the 10-member council also approved:

• Selling three para-transit buses that no longer are being used, with the proceeds from those sales to be used for the eventual purchase of another bus.

• Accepting a new transit grant from the state Transportation department, for $8,259, helping pay for Jefftran operations.

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