WILLIAMS — The Williams City Council considered a proposal to revise the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Williams Justice Court at the meeting on Thursday the 14th. The proposal was to provide more money for the addition of a bailiff and a 2.5% merit raise for the county employees acting on behalf of the city.
The City of Williams has the authority to conduct its own city court business for violations of Williams ordinances. The city could hire its own magistrate, impose and collect fines and so-forth. The Williams Justice Court provides these services to the city under the terms of the IGA for a cost. The original IGA did not account for the services of a bailiff or merit raises for employees.
Under the proposed revisions to the IGA, the city would pay 25% of the services of the bailiff added to the Williams Justice Court. This would add approximately $5,550 annually to the agreement. The position of bailiff was added without consulting the City of Williams.
Judge Krombeen explained that the bailiff position was necessary because the court occasionally reviews cases where disputing parties may become violent. The Williams Police Department may not be able to provide security in those cases. Judge Krombeen explained that the court was responsible for security.
While many cases are heard via video link with the Flagstaff Detention Center, there are cases where the defendant has been released on bail to appear in court at a later date. For example, in a domestic dispute situation, the police will usually take one of the parties into custody for safety, but that person may be released on bail. Both of the disputing parties would then appear in person for the court date creating a possible situation in the court.
Judge Krombeen explained,
“But the protective orders and the other types of cases that we are dealing with on a weekly basis are the bigger portion of the reality of the challenge that we face.
We keep a log of all of the weapons that the bailiff has taken off of folks coming into the court room over the last three-years and its a surprising number. I think I reported in the previous report we’ve had someone show up with swords in the court and we’ve had a number of incidents; crimes committed. Victims have been victimized at the court house and I’ve reported that information to you in the last couple of years.”
The City Council did not necessarily object to adding the bailiff. In fact Councilman Lee Payne indicated that he was surprised that there was not a State law requiring a bailiff.
Vice Mayor Don Dent said after the meeting that the council receives reports from the police department daily and he was surprised to see an increase in domestic violence cases in Williams.
The 2.5% merit raise was a major concern to the Council. The City Council agreed that it was an oversight on the part of the IGA, but they were concerned about the figure and the fact that they had no oversight into the merit increases as they do with other city employees.
Another point of contention was that if the city agreed to a flat 2.5% each year and the county pay raise was less than that figure, where would the extra money go? They were concerned that they could not account for the expenditures of money if they paid the 2.5% and the merit increase for the year was less than that.
Councilman Payne said that it would be hard to explain to city employees why the City is paying for a flat 2.5% pay raise for the county employees conducting city business when they might only be able to give proper city employees less of a pay raise or no pay raise at all for that same year.
Judge Krombeen pointed out that there were no city employees at the Williams Justice Center, but county employees conducting city business.
Vice Mayor Don Dent suggested that the IGA should read that the City of Williams would pay whatever the merit raise for the county is each year up to the 2.5%, but not obligate to a fixed 2.5% figure.
Councilman Craig Fritsinger summed up the council position.
“I won’t sign that,” he said. “I won’t agree to that and I don’t think anyone on the council would agree to that. From my perspective, what you said is perfectly appropriate. I would like to have you bring back a re-written document that eliminates that two-and-a-half every year. We can’t explain that to the pubic, to the newspaper, to our employees…. So change it. Bring it back. We’ll work on it.”
The Council voted to table the IGA and have Councilmen Bernie Hiemenz, Jim Wurgler and Frank McNelly work with the City Manager to study the proposal and return with a more equitable proposal for the city.
At the meeting the city councilman unanimously voted to approve the 2015-2016 budget. They also agreed to accept a Joint Project Agreement to conduct pavement maintenance on the runway at H.A. Clark Memorial Field. According to Brandon Buchanan, the city would be responsible for 10% of the cost of the repair.
“We would be responsible for ten-percent of that which would be $98,000 of the almost nine-million dollar cost of the project,” Buchanan said.