By Steve Woodhouse
Marion County Engineer Roger Schletzbaum wanted his performance review to be done in open session, and the review was on Tuesday's Board of Supervisors agenda. He received a positive review, and his contract has been extend through fiscal year 2014.
In the past, Schletzbaum's review has been done by a single supervisor, who collected information from the other two regarding his performance. Supervisor Jim Kingery said he did not think this is how it should be done, but he also felt the open meeting was not the forum in which to provide an employee performance review. His concern is that questions the board may ask the employee may involve other employees who would prefer secrecy. Kingery's eventual portion of the review did not mention any other employees.
Board Chairman Sam Nichols had no reservations about sharing his opinions of Schletzbaum in the meeting. He recognized Schletzbaum's emphasis on planning for the future and letting the board know of things that are on the horizon in regard to roads and funding.
“You've never lacked in providing plenty of documentation,” Nichols said. He added that he appreciates Schletzbaum's openness and the work he has done to centralize responsibilities in maintaining Marion County's secondary roads.
“I know you're looking out for the County's best interest,” Nichols said. This includes those times when Schletzbaum's decisions may not have been popular with the public. “I think you've done a good job for Marion County.”
“I think you do a good job,” Supervisor Craig Agan said.
“I think things are going pretty well,” Kingery added about Schletzbaum's department. Treating people well, the public as well as employees, is important to Kingery, a former Road Department employee.
“I appreciate your comments,” Schletzbaum said. “I am not perfect at what we do.” Schletzbaum said he provides the best service he can to the public and he continues to strive to do better.
Sheriff Ron Goemaat added that, in his 24 years of patrolling Marion County's rural roads, he felt comfortable saying that the county has the best such roads of any of the surrounding counties. He said the gravel roads are well-maintained and he complimented Schletzbaum and his department.
“The only way you maintain a group of employees like that is through good leadership,” Goemaat said.
“We've got good people that work for us,” Schletzbaum added. “That's what makes things happen.”
Schletzbaum did not seek a pay increase in his new contract. He is currently making $99,700. In the next few years, Schletzbaum intends to work with the supervisors to discuss a transition to a new engineer. In terms of the long-range planning he is required to do, his retirement will approach soon.
Agan asked Schletzbaum why he has a contract. Schletzbaum and Nichols said it helps provide security in knowing he will be on the job every day and that he will see to it that projects are carried out. The contract also provides Schletzbaum with similar security that the job will be there. His pay ranks approximately 25th in the state among county engineers.