Norwalk city council on Tuesday heard the first reading of legislation at tonight's meeting that would move the council clerk position from part-time to full-time.
At the previous week's meeting and for a brief time afterward, Councilman Stephen Schumm expressed his concerns involving this proposal.
Schumm said the city could be getting into treacherous waters by making this move in the midst of police and fire contract negotiations.
By moving the clerk to full-time and adding benefits, it would cost the city an extra $32,000 per year.
Prior to Tuesday's council meeting, Schumm said he hadn't changed his tune.
"I still would like to have this item tabled," he said. "The timing on it's not good. That's going to be my position" at tonight's meeting."
Councilman Bob Carleton said he could support this legislation. "It's cheaper to take a part-time person and make them full-time," Carleton said.
Carleton did not have a direct answer when asked if this legislation could affect police and fire negotiations.
"I have a couple questions I need to ask Diane," Carleton said, referring to Finance Director Diane Eschen.
Safety-Service Director Mark Schloemer sponsored the legislation. He has said by moving the clerk to full-time, she could help with a number of administrative duties which aren't being completed.
Carleton wondered if the city has had reductions in staff in other areas and not replaced those people.
"These are questions I need answers to," he said. "Can this be justified? If it can, then so be it."
Councilwoman Samantha Ludwig said she found out about the proposed legislation before last week's meeting. "This was not a big surprise," she said.
Ludwig said she discussed with the administration where the clerk was needed and how that could affect different budgets.
"I did ask for further information," Ludwig said, adding this move is likely the best way to meet the needs of these departments.
Councilman Chris Mushett has to abstain from this discussion and voting because he is married to clerk Lisa Hivnor's mother.
At the end of Tuesday's council meeting, first-ward councilwoman Deb Lucal asked Eschen for a breakdown on cost of a full-time council clerk to a part-time clerk.
Schumm also chimed in on this discussion, asking Eschen for revenue projections for 2013 and cited the loss of employees at Janesville, Maple City Rubber and Epic.
Eschen said revenue for this year was ahead of last year and added she has taken into consideration those job losses while preparing next year's budget.
"I'll know a lot more once we get the third quarter receipts," she said.
The matter likely will be discussed again this Tuesday.