Commissioner upset with not being able to retain her

 

IMLAY CITY — If you are trustworthy, possess good office skills and consider yourself a people person, the Imlay City Police Department may want to talk to you.

After learning the news they were losing a key administrative employee to another entity, the department is now working to replace the former employee.

Chief Brett Selby said Administrative Assistant Denise Kovacik has taken a new position with the Lapeer County Prosecutor’s Office. Her final day of work with the Imlay City Police Department was February 2.

Oh sure, it’s a huge loss,” said Chief Selby when asked about the impact the departure leaves.

“Denise did a great job for us, and was really good at what she did. We appreciate her greatly and personally, I wish the city could have come up with some money to see if we couldn’t talk her in to staying. The Prosecutor’s Office got a good employee, at our expense.”

At Tuesday evening’s meeting, City Commission member Joe DeLuca, a former officer with Imlay City echoed those sentiments.

DeLuca grilled City Manager Craig Horton as to why something wasn’t done to try and keep Kovacik on staff.

“What’s the story on losing Denise,” he asked Horton towards the end of the meeting. “Isn’t there something we could have done to keep her? She was too good of an employee in that department to lose her. We had a lot of time and money invested in her, and the whole department trusted her.”

Horton responded by saying once a decision was made for the secretarial help to join a union, they could no longer speak with her as an individual employee.

To which DeLuca strongly disagreed.

“There are ways we could have offered her more money without violating fair labor practices. This is just not right. She was a key part of that department She was dedicated to what she did and who she worked for and it’s a big loss for the department.”

According to DeLuca, Kovacik had been sent to specialized training for her position with Imlay City.

“We invested in her. The department took time to train her. She was good at her job. And now, because we didn’t try to keep her (offer a raise), she is gone.”

DeLuca said the position is on the low end of wage comparisons with other local departments and it needs to be raised.

“We had the same thing with a former Chief. He asked for $5,000 more and the Commission said no. Then we go out and hire (Scott) Pike and give him the extra $5,000. Where’s the logic with that? We’ll end up doing something similar with this position, give an increase of some kind, and will have lost a good employee that we maybe could have kept, if we’d have paid a little more money.”

The police department continues to try and find the right candidate to replace Kovacik and is advertising the open position. In the meantime, Chief Selby, Sgt. Sean Leathers and others are left to man the phones and other office duties.

“It certainly takes away from other work we have to do in the department,” Chief Selby said. “It is a crucial position to fill. We are hoping to get the right person in here.’

Applications will be taken until the department is able to find the right candidate, according to the Chief.