Campbell council approves new finance director; adds fire department fees
By Sarah Lehr
During a packed meeting before summer recess, city council approved the appointment of a new finance director and added fees for residents who use the fire department.
Yanni Tiliakos will replace the former finance director Michael Evanson, who has retired amid health problems and pressure from city council.
During public meetings, members of council had repeatedly criticized Evanson’s performance, arguing he did not complete financial reports in an accurate and timely manner. Council President George Levendis and Councilwoman Juanita Rich had put pressure on the Mayor Nick Phillips to fire Evanson.
“He is a very good man,” Councilman Joseph Mazzocca Jr. said Wednesday, regarding Evanson. “He’s got a big heart and he means well.”
Tiliakos, who previously worked for the state auditor’s office, will start work Monday as Campbell’s new finance director.
Though council has yet to vote on final approval of Tiliakos’ pay, he is set to earn $60,000 annually — a $16,950 bump from the salary currently designated for the finance director.
Levendis said the increase is necessary for the city to attract competitive candidates to the job.
“You get what you pay for,” Levendis said.
Also on Wednesday, council voted unanimously to begin charging fees for using the fire department. Fire Chief Nick Hrelec requested the new policy, which is modeled on other cities, including Youngstown, Levendis said. Both Levendis and Phillips said they did not have an estimate of how much revenue the fees would generate.
The fees include $40 for people locked out of their cars and $50 for responding to false alarms. Many of the fees, including those for Hazmat teams and assistance to people who fall and cannot get up, depend on the number of employees who respond and the vehicles used. A ladder truck, for example, will set someone back $425 and a pumper truck will cost $350. Personnel costs start at $47 per person per hour, but can reach $250 per person per hour if a Hazmat team is called.
“It costs a lot of money to run these services,” Phillips said of the rationale for the fees. “It’s not a free service.”
In other business, council approved a raise for the finance department clerk from $27,295 to $28,101 yearly and a raise for the department’s two cashiers from $8.15 to $9.15 hourly. Council also created a new position for a clerk handling water bills at $8.15 hourly for no more than 20 hours per week.
Council is reviewing a raise for the fire chief from $46,000 to $48,500 yearly. That raise will not come up for final passage until after council’s two-month summer recess. The next regular council meeting will be Sept. 6.
City hall has reopened after closing Monday due to extensive flooding from heavy rain. The total cost of the damage is still unknown, since the city’s insurance company is still assessing the situation. Water damaged ceilings, circuity and records stored throughout the building. The police department, typically housed in the basement of city hall, is operating out of the city administrator’s office.