For about 45 minutes, or about a third of the entire 130-minute meeting, council members discussed and altered an ordinance to change the title, duties and compensation of the mayor’s secretary.
The city plans to turn the part-time secretary position, currently occupied by Mel Fox, into a full-time position: assistant to the mayor and director of public affairs.
Council members, Mayor Gary Herbert, Clerk-Treasurer Bridgett Webber and City Attorney Christopher Stephen talked about whether they had to set an exact salary or could provide a range — (the council set an exact salary of $36,500) — whether, in fact, the document being discussed was an ordinance — (it is) — and whether the new position is a deputy mayor — (it isn’t).
Councilmen Tebbe and Cain clashed about the wording of several sentences in the ordinance. Tebbe said the ordinance made the position sound like a deputy mayor and questioned whether that was the council’s and mayor’s intention.
He also said the ordinance contained a lot of items the members needed to discuss, such as the description of the assistant’s duties, which included the coordination of “aspects to city personnel.”
“Aspects of what?” Tebbe asked. Should this employee provide support and direction? Direction is giving authority, Tebbe said.
Cain suggested changing “aspects” to “information,” which Tebbe said was more precise.
As council members leafed through the document, the discussion about the ordinance’s minutiae prompted Stephen to suggest that on page two, “I don’t think you mean slash ‘s,’ I think you mean parenthetical ‘s.’”
The exchange culminated with Stephen reading from his smart phone the definition of the word “aspects,” which, according to Stephen, is a noun that, among other things, refers to the position of planets or stars. The sequence of events elicited some chuckles in the audience.