The Butler County Board of Supervisors has officially appointed Jim McDonald to the position of highway supervisor.
The position is responsible for managing the county’s Road’s Department. Most recently, Jim Rerucha served in the position and Jim Truksa before him. For the past two months, David City City Council member Tom Kobus served as interim highway supervisor.
On Oct. 30, the board interviewed three candidates at a special meeting for the position: McDonald, Kobus and Terry Wicht. The board voted in favor of offering the position to McDonald. Board members David Potter, Max Birkel, Gregory Janak and Scott Steager voted in favor of hiring McDonald, but Tony Krafka, Kevin Slama and David Mach voting against. With 4-3 majority vote, McDonald took the position.
McDonald's experience includes working for David City for decades as street department supervisor until the position was eliminated by Mayor Alan Zavodny. In 2014, McDonald ran against Zavodny for mayor as a last-minute write-in candidate, but only garnered 25 percent of the vote, according to The Banner-Press archives.
McDonald said he was happy to receive the necessary votes needed to man the position.
“I think it’s a great job, I have a lot of experience, and I just wish all board members would have been in favor of it,” he said.
But at the board’s most recent meeting on Monday, there was confusion among the members over the hiring of McDonald.
Birkel said at the last meeting the board voted to hire McDonald for the position, but Mach said the board only voted to offer him the job, not to hire him.
Potter said they had voted to hire McDonald and had then agreed to vote upon his starting date and salary during the following meeting.
“We were adamant. This board felt it was necessary to vote at that meeting and make an offer,” Potter said to the board.
Slama said he thought the board had only voted to offer McDonald the job at the previous meeting and then agreed to vote on whether or not to officially install him in the position at the Monday meeting.
“I thought all intentions were on Monday that we were then going to make it official,” Slama said.
Mach said he had recently received a letter signed by Zavodny detailing McDonald’s performance when he worked for the city. He said the letter never referred to McDonald by name and was drafted by Zavodny’s attorney as to ensure he would not be liable.
“Some stuff came up about McDonald and I think we need to revisit it,” Mach said.
A motion was then made to have the board go into executive session to discuss the letter. The vote was 6-1, with Birkel against going into executive session. As the motion passed, all member of the audience, including The Banner-Press, were required to leave the room. However, McDonald was permitted to stay. He said to the board that he thought Zavodny wasn't qualified to speak of his performance, saying the two didn't work together for a long enough time before his position was eliminated.
"I’ve always had good performance. I’ve always done my job,” McDonald said to the board. “So as far as I know, this Mayor knows nothing of my job performance as he was not there long enough to know it.”
The board remained in executive session for 30 minutes. At that point, The Banner-Press was allowed back into the meeting. The board then voted to approve the job description for the Highway Superintendent position, 7-0.
The board then voted to approve the salary of $60,000 and starting date for the McDonald to be Nov. 19. Potter, Birkel, Janak, and Steager voted for the motion and Krafka, Slama and Mach voted against. With 4 -3, the motion passed. This vote, however, was not to hire McDonald for the position because it was determined that this took place officially during the Oct. 30 meeting.
“Hiring of the highway superintendent, I guess it’s already a done deal. Evidently, it (was approved by) the vote last Tuesday and I don’t think it was the correct statement of that vote,” Mach said. “It is in my opinion that we should vote on it again.”
The board then voted on hiring Kobus as a second foreman for the roads department, in addition to current foreman Randy Isham. This hiring would create a brand new position and change Kobus from a temporary employee to a full-time employee with benefits.
The position would pay $22.25 an hour with a start date of Nov. 19. The hiring was unanimously passed by the board, 7-0.
Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.