Plan for Urbana at-will employees introduced

Plan for Urbana at-will employees introduced

An Urbana councilman said there's at least one case where the mayor should have ultimate power over employee appointments.  But otherwise, he said that those employees need more protection.

The comments from Eric Jakobsson come ahead of Monday night's council meeting, where Jakobsson and Diane Marlin will introduce a plan regarding at-will employees.  Among the suggestions is to reduce the number of employees who report to the mayor, conduct a workplace climate survey and give the council more explanation on appointments.

Jakobsson said, though, that right after a mayor is elected, he or she should have the power to appoint a management team.  But in other cases, he said employees need more notice about their job status.

This effort is in response to Accounting Supervisor Liz Walden losing her job in June.  She was among a group of employees who can be appointed or released by the mayor only.  Walden claims she was given no warning or reason for her dismissal.  Mayor Laurel Prussing maintains that the move was the right one, and she told the WDWS newsroom on Monday that personnel matters should not be talked about in public.

The Urbana City Council will talk it all over tonight at 7 p.m. at the city building on Vine Street.  Jakobsson said he'll request that the issue be discussed again in two weeks, as well.

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