City engineer to work on contract basis

Seymour’s city engineer has a long commute to work these days.

That’s because Nathan Frey, 39, recently moved out of state but plans to continue working for the city as an independent contractor.

Board of Works members Jim Rebber and Larry Sunbury approved the contract during a meeting last week.

The agreement states the city will pay Frey a rate of $65 per hour as needed for work, not to exceed $52,500. His approved salary for 2015 was $68,000.

“It’s actually saving the city a little money right now, especially with benefits,” Mayor Craig Luedeman said.

The contract also requires Frey to work at city hall one day a week. He will have office hours on Thursdays and will be reachable the rest of the time by phone or email, Luedeman added.

Frey’s duties will continue to include site plan development review, stormwater pollution prevention planning, serving on the city’s plat committee, working with contractors to maintain road infrastructure, applying for state permits for construction projects, design and bid work for construction projects, seeking federal funding for work through Indiana Department of Transportation and other miscellaneous assignments.

“There will be little to no impact on ongoing projects, such as the work I’m doing with the trails committee,” he said.

The contract expires Dec. 31, and renewal is not assured, Luedeman said.

“City council has made it clear they would like a full-time city engineer to be available at city hall,” he said.

But Frey said he intends to continue his work in the city as long as he can.

“I want the situation to remain positive for both sides,” he said. “I enjoy what I do for the city of Seymour and wanted to stay on in some capacity. This seemed to be the best option.”

Frey, a Seymour native, has served as the city’s full-time engineer since April 2014. He and his family have since moved to Somerset, Kentucky, a roughly three-hour commute.

His wife got a job in the Somerset area, so they decided to move there, Frey said.

Before Frey was hired by Seymour, the city outsourced engineering work to local engineer Jim Wayman of Wayman and Associates Inc. for four years.

Jerry Hartsell served as city engineer prior to that time before health issues led to his retirement after 30 years on the job.

Luedeman said Frey’s contract will work the same as other contractual services the city maintains with individuals and companies.

He doesn’t think the change will impact ongoing projects and might allow Frey to get even more work done because he won’t have to deal with the public so much.

“The downfall is that he won’t be here all the time, so he will be working through me and Jeremy (Gray, city building commissioner) when it comes to relaying information,” Luedeman said.

Nathan Frey

Name: Nathan Frey

Age: 39

Family: Wife, Heidi; children, Oliver, 7, and Amelia, 5

Moved to: Somerset, Kentucky, from Seymour

Graduate: Seymour High School and Purdue University (bachelor’s degree in civil¬†engineering)

Job: Contracted engineering services for the city of Seymour

Pay: $65 per hour, had been on a full-time salary of $68,000

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.