WARREN City switches two employees

Officials will decide the next step after Sept. 20.
WARREN -- The city has switched the positions for two employees in its building department, and union officials say they'll pursue the matter through the grievance process.
Gary Cicero, human resources director, said Wayne DaBelko, the city's building official, and Chris Taneyhill, building inspector, have temporarily switched posts. The change was effective Aug. 12.
"Wayne DaBelko's interim building official certificate ended last week," Cicero said.
DaBelko has passed two parts of the test required to get his license as a building official. He's set to take the third part Sept. 10.
The switch also means a change in pay for both men. An inspector earns $16.25 per hour, and the building official earns $20.21.
Because the inspector is a union position, union officials contend DaBelko, as a new union employee, should earn 70 percent of prevailing wage in the inspector's post.
Lee DeJacimo, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 74, which covers city workers, also believes the position should have been posted and union members allowed to bid on it.
Cicero said the switch is temporary and won't last long enough for DaBelko to become a union member.
"It won't go past Sept. 20," Cicero said.
Temporary switch
Union officials also contend the length of the temporary appointment extends beyond the time allowed under the union contract.
If DaBelko doesn't pass the test Sept. 10, the city will have to decide whether to make the switch permanent or to discontinue DaBelko's employment, Cicero said.
If officials decide to make the change permanent, the inspector's position will be posted, but the human resources director said that's just a formality.
"Nobody else in the city is qualified for the job," he said.
Union officials question how the city knows no one else is qualified if it wasn't posted.
Earlier this month, the city extended DaBelko's probationary period to September, allowing him another try at the test. DaBelko was hired April 2, 2001. In April 2002, Dabelko's probationary period was extended to Aug. 9.
DaBelko's residency also has been a sore subject with union members.
He lives in Fowler.
After passing probation, an employee has six months to move into the city.
A residency requirement passed by city council in 1991 says any city employee hired after that date is subject to a six-month probationary period.

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