Hammond city councilman may reintroduce proposal limiting paid positions for city employees

2013-03-14T21:30:00Z Hammond city councilman may reintroduce proposal limiting paid positions for city employeesChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | City Councilman Bob Markovich pulled a proposal Monday to bar Hammond employees from serving in more than one paid position in the city.

The ordinance comes after Markovich, D-at large, protested the City Council approval of the appointment of a city employee to the Hammond Human Relations Commission in February. However, Markovich said Monday his proposal is not specifically tied to the concerns he had shared on the appointment.

“If elected officials cannot be an employee and an elected official with the same government body, then why should city employees be on boards? Some city employees are on two boards,” Markovich said after Monday's City Council meeting.

Markovich said he did not introduce the ordinance at the meeting for more time to make changes.

Markovich said he hopes to relate the ordinance to a report on local government reform authored by former Gov. Joseph Kernan and former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard before potentially reintroducing it.

Under the proposed ordinance, city employees could not receive payment for two or more separate jobs or contracts with the city. The rule also would apply to the Hammond Water Department, Sanitary District, Port Authority and city boards and commissions.

The proposed ordinance exempts elected officials and other employees if authorized to hold the positions under an ordinance approved by the City Council.

The city used to have the rule in place as late as 2007, but it was done away with in 2008, according to the ordinance.

Council President Michael Opinker, D-5th, said he disagrees with the proposal and feels if a city employee is qualified to do both positions it's his right.

“Depending on how that ordinance comes out, I'm totally against it,” Opinker said. “It's an infringement on my rights and that's how I look at it and to anyone else who pursues jobs or boards or whatever comes up.”

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