A minor dust up at the county commission meeting occurred Thursday when a few elected officials questioned why a recently retired employee was named to a personnel committee.
Former Franklin County Highway Administrator Eva Gadcke, who retired from the county in December, was appointed to the county’s Shared Leave and Personnel Policy Committee on Thursday.
Franklin County Counselor Mark Vincent explained that Gadcke is coming back to work for the county on a part-time basis to help new Highway Administrator Joe Feldmann and another highway employee transition into their new roles.
“Eva Gadcke’s going to serve as a part-time employee for period of time with the county,” Vincent said. “It’s just so simple it’s ridiculous.”
The committee Gadcke was appointed to works on various employee policies.
During the county commission meeting Thursday, three elected officials questioned the appointment.
The elected officials who questioned the appointment were County Collector Linda Emmons, Public Administrator Mary Jo Straatmann and Auditor Tammy Vemmer.
“I’m not really in favor of having a person on that committee that is not an employee,” Emmons said, adding, “I didn’t realize she was still employed.”
Vincent challenged Emmons, saying the issue with Gadcke was discussed at meetings that Emmons attended.
“It’s really simple,” Vincent said. “It’s not a problem, and, Linda, it took place during the November and December meetings which you were at.”
After Vincent explained the situation, Emmons said she had a better understanding of the matter.
On the Payroll?
Vemmer questioned whether Gadcke has been added back to the payroll yet.
“Is she on our payroll now, because the last paperwork that I have, you know, she’s retired, she’s not on the payroll?” Vemmer said.
Vemmer added that she has nothing against Gadcke but was just concerned that someone who was not an employee would be appointed to the personnel committee. Once she learned that Gadcke was coming back to work for the county on a part-time basis, Vemmer said she had no problem with her serving on the committee.
Straatmann raised a series of questions about Gadcke’s appointment.
“Nobody has anything against Eva,” Straatmann said. “She’s a good person, and she did a good job.”
But Straatmann then asked, “Is she an employee on the payroll now?”
Vincent said Gadcke will be a county employee when she starts serving on the committee, and if she is not, then she will be removed.
“This is an internal committee that has nothing to do with the outside world,” Vincent said. “It’s just our own people, and that’s why it was done.”
He said people who are not county employees cannot serve on the committee.
Feldmann said Gadcke can’t start until next Wednesday, which will be the day of the next personnel committee meeting.
Brinker said the issue was being turned into a “mountainous molehill.”
Brinker added, “As a resolution to this, if Eva really has no interest in being on the committee, we’ll reconfirm with her. If she doesn’t want to be on it, we can take her off, but we need to get someone from your department, Joe (Feldmann), on that committee.”
Vincent questioned why the matter was raising so many questions since it had been discussed at previous committee meetings.
“I’m not sure why this is a problem,” Vincent said. “This was discussed in an open session of the shared leave committee two times, once in November and once in December.”
Straatmann said, “At the time it was discussed at those two meetings we were under the impression she wasn’t going to be an employee.”
Vincent retorted, “No, that’s not true,” adding, “I was there.”
Gadcke stated at the time that she was retiring, Straatmann said.
But Vincent said it was known that “she was coming back.”
Straatmann said, “That wasn’t mentioned though, but that’s fine.”
There is word that Gadcke is enjoying retirement, Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer said. He questioned whether she would even come back on a part-time basis.
“If she decides not to come out of retirement for a little bit, then we’ll go ahead and reappoint somebody else (to the committee),” Griesheimer said.
Feldmann agreed with Vincent that it was best for Gadcke to come back and be on the committee until he and the other highway department employees get brought up to speed. Then it can be decided whether he or another highway department employee will serve on the committee in the future, Feldmann said.