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Covington Commission Split on Part-Time Employee's Appointment, Salary

City Engineer and Director of Public Improvements Tom Logan will retain his leadership of that department but agreed to become assistant city engineer, a 25-hour per week part-time position that will pay him $65,000 annually.

Assistant City Engineer and Community Services Manager Mike Yeager will keep his management title but will also assume the duties of city engineer with an updated annual salary of $95,947.95.

The Covington City Commission approved the job swap for Logan 3-2 Tuesday night. Promoting Yeager passed 4-1.

Logan has accepted a new position outside of city government but has agreed to stay with the City of Covington to help oversee the large infrastructure projects that are set to begin soon.

"We're about to embark on a $26 million capital improvements campaign and we need to keep technical staff there to run these projects," said City Commissioner Steve Frank who joined Mayor Sherry Carran and City Commissioner Chuck Eilerman in approving the change.

"My concern is doing both jobs and doing them well," said City Commissioner Mildred Rains who was joined by fellow Commissioner Michelle Williams in opposition of the change of Logan's new title and cast the lone vote opposing Yeager's promotion. "I have some serious concerns about this."

Several items on Tuesday's city commission agenda dealt with the swap of positions. There was a first reading of ordinances that would amend the positions and amend their salaries which will require a vote at the next city commission meeting on June 25. Yeager's new job description was approved 4-1 (with Rains dissenting). Logan's new job description passed 3-2 (with Williams and Rains voting against it).

"He's going to do all this in twenty-five hours a week?," Rains asked, questioning whether the upcoming tasks can be accomplished under a reduced schedule.

City Manager Larry Klein offered assurances that Logan will be readily accessible. His reduced salary already went into effect in late May.

Assistant City Manager Larisa Sims explained that Yeager would have increased supervisory roles for projects, justifying the five-percent raise he received.

Mayor Carran told the public that Logan was a key employee. "The Waterfront developer asked that (Logan) stay on because he was instrumental in that project," she said. "He's doing this as a favor to the city."

"It doesn't make a lot of sense as to how it's going to work," Williams said.

"There was a lot of discussion with staff about how to deal with the loss of a significant public servant," the mayor said.

The length of time in which Logan will remain with the city is unclear. It may be determined by the candidate selected to replace him in a full-time capacity as assistant city engineer, Sims explained, and dependent on how much of a transitional period is necessary.

The job was to be posted on Wednesday.

"So there may be a time in which we have an assistant city engineer and (Logan)," Commissioner Frank asked. 

"We cab revisit and revise this when identify a candidate," Sims said.

At the end of Tuesday's meeting, the city leaders showed their appreciation for Logan.

"Tom, all of us hate to see you go," Klein said. "You are a brilliant engineer and a great manager. I can't say enough about you."

"Tom, I hated to hear you were leaving," the mayor said. "I don't think people realize what a benefit it is to have you stay on. I'm going to miss you and I think the whole department is going to miss you."

SEE ALSO: A profile of Tom Logan and the efficient, money-saving operation he oversee as the Department of Public Improvements: Click Here

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Vehicle at Department of Public Improvements/RCN