by Stacy Wiedmaier
Platte City voters decided not to re-elect alderman Lee Roy Van Lew last week, but that does not mean he won’t stick around to serve in a new capacity.
At Platte City’s Board of Alderman meeting, the idea was approached that Van Lew be hired full time as the city’s new inspector for the Community Improvement Project (CIP.) City Administrator Keith Moody stated that a contractor began work last week and an inspector needs to be hired as soon as possible.
“John Frank worked for us in the past but took another job,” said Moody. “We have talked to a few other retired men for this position but could not come to terms on pay or they took another job.”
When Moody was questioned by Alderman Ken Brown whether the job has been posted or advertised in a newspaper, Moody admitted it had not. Brown suggested he would like to see the inspector position advertised in the paper for at least a week before a decision was made.
Alderman Todd Sloan questioned why the position needed to be full time when there is only one major project the city is handling right now, the CIP plan.
Whether Van Lew or another applicant is hired, they will be paid a salary of $1,400 per week.
Alderman Aaron Jung said even if the salary for this position has been budgeted, it is still unwise to pay an employee so much, “when we have outstanding attorneys' fees to think about" and other recent spending.
Moody was seeking direction from the board whether to hire Van Lew, but the final decision was to post the job ad and confer with Leonard Hendricks, public works director.
Jung said the city should consider having Hendricks perform the inspections as a way to save money.
Mayor Dave Brooks and Moody contended that Hendricks would be hard-pressed to perform the inspections because his schedule is full.
“There are times on the construction site when the contractor wants to do something that isn’t in the original plans,” Brooks said. “If we don’t have someone there who’s dedicated to overseeing everything, then something could be done wrong. If it’s done right the first time, we won’t have to spend more money fixing any problems. Lee Roy (Van Lew) is qualified and available.”
Van Lew was overwhelmingly defeated by Ron Stone in last week's election. Stone had 91 votes to 28 for Van Lew and 9 for Tom Marquis in Ward 1.