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City shuffles job duties for more efficiency
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A light agenda was tended to by the Ceres City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

The council approved a realignment of management positions, eliminating existing positions, approving employment agreements and approving job descriptions. The move reflects changes that have already taken place and provide an enhanced level of efficiency, said Acting City Manager Art deWerk.

For years in light of budget issues, the city has consolidated management to make ends meet. Last week the council decided to create two new director positions - that of director of Community Development to be filled by existing Senior Planner Tom Westbrook; and that of Director of Human Resources filled by Betina McCoy.

The city will continue to be managed by an acting city manager in Police Chief Art deWerk. Two deputy city managers will report to him. Toby Wells will take on the position of Deputy City Manager/City Engineer while Sheila Cumberland will also serve as a Deputy City Manager while she focuses on finance, supervise Information Technology and Human Resources.

None of the new positions come with additional pay with the exception of McCoy's who will receive an additional $841 per month.

The realignment calls for the elimination of five positions - planning manager, senior management analyst, director of Engineering Services, Director of Public Works/Assistant City Manager and Director of Administrative Services.

The council met over two Study Session items, one being modifications to the River Bluff Regional Park Master Plan; the second a proposal by Shane Parsons to provide landscape maintenance services at 3004 Fifth Street. Parson owns properties in the downtown area and was given permission to maintain some city owned properties, including the bare vacant lot at the corner of Fifth and Lawrence streets.

During the regular City Council meeting members proclaimed Nov. 15 as "The Great American Smoke Out Day" in the Ceres and November 2012 as "Movember" in Ceres. Movember calls for men to grow a mustache to remind men to perform prostate checkups.

The council also:

• Authorized Ceres City Hall to close for four days of mandatory furlough Dec. 21, 26, 27 and 28, and cancelled the last City Council meeting in December originally set for Dec. 26.

• Rejected the claim of Nikki Bartlett on behalf of her minor child. She claims injuries and anxiety inflicted on her child during an April 16 parole search.

• Approved the purchase of three "chemical feed stations" used in well head treatment. Hopkins Technical is supplying the items for $69,967.

• Approved the purchase of three police vehicles from Winner Chevrolet, Inc., for $110,476. Piggybacking on a Kern County purchase allowed the city to save $12,524 when compared to the expected cost with other dealers.

• Approved a one-year contract with Industrial Automation Group for maintenance and service the City's computerized water system in an amount not to exceed $100,000.

• Accepted the $323,972 CDBG infrastructure project as complete.

The council also approved the city's participation in the San Joaquin Valley Insurance Authority (SJVIA) for employee medical benefits. McCoy said the two present carriers, United Health Care and Kaiser have been increasing premiums that make renewal "untenable." Employees are roughly split between the two carriers.