Along with a jovial personality and an endearing wit, the city of Millwood lost a valuable employee when Eva Colomb passed away last September at the age of 58 from ovarian cancer.
As a city clerk and treasurer for over 23 years, Colomb had earned a reputation for her efficient and detailed work overseeing the municipal books. In all her years in Millwood, the city never once had a problem with an audit.
In the weeks after Colomb’s passing, with the 2010 budget yet to be approved by the City Council, those remaining at City Hall were charged with the task of picking up the pieces and carrying on without what City Attorney Brian Werst described as Colomb’s “institutional knowledge.”
City Planner Tom Richardson said the process was made easier by the fact that Colomb left behind a well-structured system.
“Fortunately, she was very organized,” Richardson said. “It was just a matter of figuring out how she did things and keep that going.”
As far as the budget went, Colomb had also been a step ahead of the process.
“Eva pretty much had the budget done by September,” Richardson said.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, Millwood Mayor Dan Mork announced the new official lineup at City Hall, a roster that reflects much of the shuffling that has taken place since early October.
In addition to his duties as city planner, Richardson will now take on the title of city clerk, a role that will include responsibilities such as organizing the council agenda and minutes, processing legal notices and keeping track of other paperwork. Richardson said Monday that the job will add and average of two hours a day to the six hours a day he has been working since joining the city in June of 2008.
Debbie Matkin, who has worked as the deputy treasurer for the past 11 years, has now been promoted to city treasurer, a job that requires 30 hours a week.
Patty Peterson, who was brought on in October on a temporary basis, has now moved into a full-time position as administrative assistant.
Mork said the changes will mean a 14-percent decrease in salary expenditures while the new wage schedule has been included as an attachment to the 2010 budget. Ordinance 391, which provided an outline of the staffing transition, was approved unanimously by the City Council on Monday night.
“We believe this is going to work out real well,” Mork said.
Prior to signing on with Millwood, Richardson worked for the city of Deer Park and in Cheney as director of the city-owned utility and in the planning department. He said the new configuration in Millwood bodes well for the city.
“I think we have a great group here,” Richardson said.
In other council news:
- Mork and Council Members Richard Schoen, Brian Ellingson and Shaun Culler were sworn into office prior to Monday’s meeting. All four city leaders won four-year terms in last November’s election. Schoen, Ellingson and Culler ran unopposed on the ballot. Mork defeated write-in candidate Dennis Hamlin 300-33.
- Mork announced that a tree on the east side of Argonne Road would be removed to make way for additional signage in front of City Hall.
- City Council will hear a 30-minute report from Capt. Jeff Bordwell with the Spokane Valley Fire Department regarding operational standards and efficiencies at its next meeting on Feb. 1. The presentation, provided for all jurisdictions overseen by the department, will focus on establishing goals of responsiveness within Millwood city limits.
- Mork said the city has been asked to participate in a homeless housing and assistance program along with other cities in Spokane County. Funds for the program would be drawn from a percentage of a jurisdiction’s excise tax based on population.