Until recently, two men were responsible for the day-to-day oversight of Crothersville’s street, sewer and water departments.
But with the Crothersville Town Council’s 2-1 approval of hiring Nick Tatlock as a full-time town employee, Chris Mains and Mason Boicourt will have help with their daily duties.
Tatlock fills a void left by Roger Jewell, a former town employee who took another job. Tatlock’s first day on the job was Thursday.
Now, the town’s police department hopes to follow suit by hiring a third full-time officer to help Chief Richard Hanlin and Officer Brent Turner patrol the streets and fulfill other tasks.
Council members Butch Robinson and Derrick Minton voted for the hiring of the full-time town employee, while council president Ardell Mitchell cast the dissenting vote.
Mitchell said a couple of months ago, he was in favor of hiring town employees and police officers. But since he didn’t run for re-election to the council, which will consist of five members for the first time starting in January, he changed his thinking.
“I don’t think it’s right for this council to make big decisions in terms of hiring new employees … for the new council to inherit next month,” Mitchell said. “I think we’re close enough to where the new council should have a say in it.”
Robinson, who was re-elected to the council in the Nov. 3 general election, said he voted for hiring Tatlock because he felt like, after reviewing the applications, he was the best qualified person. He also said the hiring will help reduce the workloads of Mains and Boicourt.
“Personally, the new town board, they are going to have to work with whoever they’ve got just like we did when we came in,” Robinson said. “There were people here when we started, and we didn’t have any problem with that.”
The council also discussed Tatlock’s pay. Jewell made $14.42 per hour and had certifications. Since Tatlock doesn’t have those certifications yet, the council thought $13.50 per hour was a good start.
Robinson said it’s important to offer town employees a fair hourly rate so they will stay in their positions and not seek other jobs.
“I feel like we ought to give (Tatlock) enough so he can make a living, or he’s not going to stay,” Robinson said. “We have got to come up with some way to pay our employees more money so they stay here longer during the next four years.”
Mitchell told Tatlock it would be good for him to pursue job-related certifications or licenses.
“I would encourage you to learn all facets of all departments and consider even licensing and those things and add to your compensation package and your value down the road with the town,” Mitchell said.
With the police department, Hanlin said he began taking applications for a full-time officer in August. The town currently has three reserve officers, who aren’t paid, along with the two full-time officers.
Hanlin and Turner sorted through 20 applications and narrowed it down to five candidates.
Hanlin asked the council if it wanted to help with interviewing those five people. Robinson said it didn’t matter to him if the council was in on the interviews, and Minton said he was in favor of moving the process along.
Mitchell said after reviewing the applications, he wanted to understand Hanlin and Turner’s logic in the final five candidates they chose.
“When I look at some of the applications that were excluded compared to some that were in the final five, I don’t understand, but that’s just me,” Mitchell said. “I am sure you have a thought process behind it.”
Mitchell said conducting executive sessions or special meetings to interview candidates isn’t required. In the hiring process of the town employee, each councilman independently reviewed the applications, and a final decision was made during a regular town council meeting.
Once the council agrees who will be interviewed for the police position and conducts interviews, the final decision will be up for discussion at a regular town council meeting.