Oneida mayor issues hiring freeze

The Oneida Common Council met for the first time under new mayor Leo Matzke Jan. 5.

In what will become a normal schedule, the council met for a pre-meeting discussion in council chambers before the regular meeting.

Topics of the pre-meeting included a hiring freeze, the creation of an advisory committee for the mayor and the senior van.

Matzke said that he has implemented a hiring freeze that started Jan. 4.

"It will stay that way until I have a handle on this year's budget," he said.

He added that while there won't be any layoffs, the city will take advantage of retirement.

Council member Dave Cimpi advised Matzke to consider overtime and that it might be cheaper to hire someone new.

In considering forming an advisory committee, Matzke said that there are two people he would like on it that are not city residents.

"Frankly, I picked them because they don't live in the city but they do have a vested interest," he said, adding that they are active within the community.

Councilor Dan Jones said that he believes the mayor should stick with Oneida residents.

According to Matzke, the city charter states that members of a committee must be residents but if it were to be a board, there are no guidelines.

Also discussed was the senior van, which has stopped service. Because the service has stopped, Matzke said that the possibility of any new regulations needs to be explored.

One of the main regulations that will need to be looked at is if the van needs to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to Recreation Department Director Brandon Lovett, the current van is not and that a shuttle type bus that would meet the specifications would cost around $50,000.

Lovett said that there is a possibility to receive some funding through Medicaid. If a passenger used the van for a medical visit, Medicaid would reimburse the city for $10 per pick up and $2.50 per mile.

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