The mayor had to discipline an employee for violating a village ordinance.
By TELA DURBIN
CRAIG BEACH -- Village council passed a pay ordinance for November that will leave just $2,510 in the general fund to make payroll and pay other bills for the rest of the year.
Lawmakers passed the ordinance at their Tuesday night meeting authorizing a payment of $20,864.
This was the first council session since voters defeated a 1 percent income tax measure last week.
There wasn't much discussion by council members about how they felt about the tax failure, but Mayor Camillo Gaia made a few observations.
Gaia said after the meeting that he is concerned with how the village will continue operating without the tax increase.
"It's going to be interesting to see how the new council is going to provide services for Craig Beach [without the tax measure]," Gaia said.
He said he wanted an enhanced general fund for improvements to the village and for the police department.
But Councilman Tom Ellis said he thought the village would do just fine without the income tax increase.
"We've always managed to pay our bills. As long as we watch our budget, we will be fine," Ellis said. "I don't think it's needed. We have been able to sustain since 1998 without it and, with this slow economy people don't have the money to spend."
Voters repealed the income tax in 1997.
Worker disciplined: Much of the meeting focused on disciplinary action the mayor took against Tom Etto, a street department worker. At times, Ellis and Gaia shouted at each other. Gaia told Etto last week to turn in his village keys after the mayor discovered he was not abiding by the work hours stated in a village ordinance.
The ordinance says the street department employee is to work from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but Gaia said Etto was working from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
After repeated warnings, the mayor said, he was forced to take Etto's keys Friday. Gaia told Etto to write a letter to council explaining the situation and asking council to change the ordinance. Etto did write the letter.
Ordinance replaced: After much discussion, including a statement by Ellis in which he encouraged Etto to sue the village, council repealed the old ordinance and put a new ordinance in place that allows Etto to work from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Gaia said he wasn't wrong in his action, adding that it was his job to make sure the old ordinance was followed. "They [council] don't want the mayor to enforce the law," Gaia said. "I have to follow the law."
Council also passed a resolution to pay Chris Buday, former village police chief, $4,500 on a recommendation from the village solicitor James Vivo. Council had to lay off Buday in October 1999 after voters repealed the income tax and the village ran out of funds to pay him.
The $4,500, which was held in an escrow account, is to cover back pay, vacation and sick days Buday had earned.