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City’s HR policies audit to start this week

Credit card policy on file

DIXON – An audit of the city’s personnel policies starts this week.

The City Council voted Monday to hire Davenport, Iowa-based PJ Greufe & Associates for $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the details needed; it was one of five firms to apply.

A committee of city employees, which included Police Chief Danny Langloss, special assistant to the City Council, and Finance Director Paula Meyer, concluded that the city’s hiring practices, compliance with labor laws, and benefits were out of date. Because no one at City Hall was qualified to conduct the audit, a consultant was hired.

The committee decided Greufe was both the least expensive and the most qualified, Langloss said.

The audit could save the city $200,000 in health care costs alone, Langloss has said. Also, Michael Svach, a retired human resources director, said at a governmental task force meeting last month that the lack of importance the City Council placed on its human resources policies allowed the Rita Crundwell and Shawn Ortgiesen scandals to take place.

Greufe will start by sending a questionnaire to department directors and soon will hold one-on-one interviews with each. There is no deadline for the audit’s completion.

Paul Greufe, who owns the firm, has more than 20 years of experience in human resources consulting, is a college instructor in the field, and provided numerous government references, Langloss said.

Also Monday, the council placed a credit card policy on file for 14 days for public review.

Among other things, the policy prohibits city-issued credit cards being used for anything other than official city business, prohibits cash advances, and requires employees using the cards to submit all receipts, documentation detailing the goods or services bought and the official business explanation for each purchase to the commissioner supervising that employee and to the finance office “in a timely manner.”

The new policy was drafted in response to former City Engineer Shawn Ortgiesen’s use of city-issued credit cards to pay for more than $13,500 in personal expenses, then submitting IOUs to the city.

He has since resigned and paid his balance plus interest.

The council also OK’d spending $208,000 on eight vehicles to replace worn-out vehicles in the water, streets, fire, sewer, public property and police departments. Six will be bought from Ken Nelson Auto Mall in Dixon, the others in Taylorville.

Members also finalized a 2-year municipal aggregation agreement with Verde Energy to supply electricity at 5.2979 cents per kilowatt hour in year one and 5.8472 cents in year two. Those rates are expected to start in July or August.

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