Mayor toots-own-horn over part-time employees
During numerous public settings this week, Mayor Leonard Urban lists part-time city employees as a major accomplishment during his administration.
The Chief Executive/Kentucky Colonel first boasts about saving money by stripping benefits from new city employees then brags about spending tens of thousands of dollars to renovate the John Roberts building in Roberts Park. (Strangely, Crown Industries and Carbon Motors were not highlighted in the presentations)
While it sounds good to “save money for the city” by hiring part-time employees, the mayor’s actions could put many new employees and their families into poverty. In an economy so tough, how can a family survive with less pay and no benefits -including pensions and health insurance for their families? Urban has already replaced numerous employees in the police and fire departments with part-time employees and is now working to do the same at the street department.
Along with being paid his mayor and Board of Public Works salaries, Urban reportedly is the first mayor in Connersville’s history to receive payment from the utility board and to have a free city-owned vehicle with (we’re told) a free gas card.
John Roberts building
Another “look-at-me” moment for Urban during his recent speeches has been the John Roberts (4H) Building in Roberts Park, a building that had been boarded up since the construction of the new John Miller Building.
The original plans were that the Miller Building was to replace the John Roberts Building
At the time, engineers said the building was “unsafe” and that nothing was salvageable including the roof, floors, windows, heating and plumbing and that it wasn’t ADA accessible and didn’t have a sprinkler system. A committee working on the project was told that the only thing still good about the building was “the brick façade.”
The Miller Building was originally planned to be built on the same site as the Roberts Building but there was a concern of where to hold receptions while the construction was taking place. Instead of tearing the building down, it was boarded up and secured from further deterioration by former mayor Maurie Connell.
Why spend the money now?
Urban spearheaded the project that has cost the city tens of thousands of dollars – a project that could have waited but now puts the community in more of a financial burden.
Before starting renovations, Urban said, “we’ve spent zero dollars on engineers” and “the building is in good condition.”
Both Urban and Park Superintendent Mike Bottomly have said numerous times that the renovations were necessary because the Miller Building was continually in us. Contrary to their statements, many people believe the Miller Building sits nearly empty on a regular basis.
Isn’t it ironic how a building in “good structural condition” was actually replaced years ago because it was deemed “beyond repair” by engineers?
The John Roberts Building renovation could have – and probably should have waited until better economic times. A time when Connersville actually had the money to spend on the project.
What do you think?