City seeks replacement for Mills-of-all-trades

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Nanci Mills is the director of administrative services and clerk for the city of Winters. Because of her dedication and long-time service to the city, her daily function goes beyond what the titles might suggest, filling in any necessary gap in City Hall function, from fixing technology issues to assisting city manager John Donlevy with facilitating development.

“Over the course of the next couple of years we’re going to be losing some key personnel. Nanci’s retirement — I’m still in denial over this,” said Donlevy at the Feb. 20 city council meeting. “Her background in serving the community is very typical in a small town. They are piled on with all of these things that they end up doing.

“Nanci is really the one who hires everyone, Nanci also manages all of our employees benefits and insurance.”

According to Donlevy, Mills manages all city information technology and records dating back to the 1800s.

Donlevy proposed open recruitment to fulfill the human resources aspects of Mills’ position and dropping the classification to manager level to save money on a less experienced replacement. Dedicating a full position to these responsibilities would also allow the city to become more current.

“Human Resources is a very dynamic field,” said Donlevy, “There are more and more laws and more requirements.”

To manage records and information at City Hall, Donlevy thinks the best option is to promote existing personnel who are already familiar with the city ‘s record-keeping systems and city history.

Mayor pro tempore Bill Biasi asked if Mills would be able to train new hires before retiring from her City Hall life.

“I won’t be going anywhere,” responded Mills.

Council member Harold Anderson asked about the financial side of the restructure.

“I’m pretty sure there will be a little bit of savings when we drop out of the department head level,” said Donlevy.

Emergency communications

Dena Humphrey from the Yolo Emergency Communications Agency gave a presentation to the council on the state of emergency communications following the emergency services presentation from the previous meeting.

According to Humphrey, the biggest challenges to running emergency communications are hiring and training new personnel and keeping abreast of the latest technology to ensure the service is running as efficiently as possible.

The agency works to perform below a standard of 10 seconds to answer a call 90 percent of the time. This is a state standard that the county beat, with 94 percent of calls answered under 10 seconds.

“It takes two years to recruit and fully train personnel, and they are hard to replace. There are not many people who can do this job,” said Humphrey.

According to Humphrey, 70 percent of the state and federally funded buget goes to staff and 18 percent goes to supplies and services.

The dedicated state 911 tax only covers about 5-10 percent of the total cost of operations.

The agency is centered in Woodland and fielded 315,000 calls last year. The operators relay emergency calls to first responders and talk 911 callers through medical assistance with cardiac arrests and delivering babies.

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