GENEVA — An unusual number of supervisors and managers working for the city are expected to retire in the next 10 years. To fill that void, City Manager Matt Horn has created the Next Generation leadership program.
Horn explained it at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
The program will train selected city employees to assume management positions in light of the expected retirements, especially in the public works and police departments.
Mike Karweck, Nick DeMaria, Jacqueline LaVoie, Jack Montesanto, Tyler Turner, Steve Horton and Anthony Marino will undergo a day-long training one day a week from June to December. They will be mentored by DPW Director Mark Perry, Deputy Comptroller Kelly Doeblin, City Clerk Doris Myers, Police Chief Jeff Trickler, Personnel Director Jennifer Slywka, Office of Neighborhood Initiatives Director Sage Gerling and City Comptroller Adam Blowers.
“(The mentors) will be required to do extra work outside of their jobs. They will not receive extra compensation for their efforts,” Horn said.
During training, the program’s seven participants will be asked the following challenge question: how to slow the rising cost of salaries and fringe benefits for city employees.
In other action Wednesday:
• AWARD: Canandaigua Mayor Ellen Polimeni presented Mayor Ron Alcock with the plaque from the New York Conference of Mayors.
Canandaigua and Geneva received a first-place award in local government achievement for their decision to share an assessor and information technology services.
Geneva officials were unable to attend the state conference in Saratoga Springs. Polimeni accepted it on behalf of both cities.
“We’re going to keep looking at other things to cut the cost of government,” Polimeni said.
• CITIZENS UNITED: Council voted 8-0 — Sixth Ward Councilor John Greco was absent — in favor of a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment that would reverse Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision gave corporations few restrictions in making political contributions to candidates or parties.
The motion outlines Council’s dissatisfaction with the decision and calls upon the state Legislature to oppose it too. It also asks Congress to pass and send to the states an amendment reversing the decision.
• SURPLUS: Councilors voted to declare several items as surplus, directing some to be sold and others to be destroyed. Included are 13 older voting machines made obsolete by new electronic models.
• RECORDS: Council’s minute books for meetings held from 1989 to 2009 will be given to the Geneva Historical Society for safekeeping.
• COMMENT: Chris Lavin, executive director of the Geneva Community Center and the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva, introduced himself to Council. The Geneva native attended St. Stephen’s School, DeSales High School and Hobart College before embarking on a long career in journalism, including a stint at the Finger Lakes Times.
“Now I’m back home and amazed at the strength of the community to build the Community Center to meet the needs of its people,” Lavin said. “There’s a lot of good things going on in Geneva, and I’m happy to be back home. Thank you for your support.”
Charles King of Washington Street offered philosophical comments on city issues, including the solar panels on State Street. He said he is torn between his conservative aesthetic leanings and his progressive values, acknowledging the solar panels are not particularly aesthetic, but the benefits in terms of alternative energy allow him to support them.
He urged city officials to “favor the future” when making decisions.
• REPORTS: Second Ward Councilor Paul D’Amico inquired about bumps on Jefferson Avenue, security cameras behind Exchange Street stores, reopening talks on allowing food trucks in the city and concerns about truck traffic on South Main Street.
Third Ward Councilor Steve Valentino suggested the names of those owning poorly maintained properties bought from the city be published. He suggested the sale be revoked if the property is not maintained.
City Manager Matt Horn said discussions are underway on the proposal made by Linden Street business owner James-Emery Elkin to have Linden Street closed to vehicular traffic from Friday night to early Monday morning, allowing pedestrian-friendly events on the street. A proposal will be given to Council in July, Horn noted.
Horn also reported that the city Public Art Committee will be working on an art project for Bicentennial Park featuring the city as the head of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail.
In another matter, Horn said the city began charging Casella Waste Systems more to treat Ontario County Landfill leachate in March. The hike was meant to discourage Casella from sending its leachate here. Horn said he is talking with legal counsel about a long-term plan to get out of the leachate business.