LAKE STATION — The city is looking to increase staffing levels in 2020 to help with municipal operations.
Several of the municipality’s department head positions were consolidated years ago in an effort to save funding, and Adrian Vera is the latest to serve in that combined role as the public works superintendent.
Mayor Christopher Anderson said Lake Station is “trying to get back to where we used to be” with additional staff overseeing city departments.
“It’s badly needed,” Anderson said.
Officials said having more people involved in city operations could help accomplish more goals in the city.
Anderson said the chief of staff position has been created, and Vera will fill that role starting in January.
The chief of staff position has an annual salary of $60,000.
Anderson said Vera will have the same responsibilities and continue to handle matters for all city departments as the chief of staff, but he will have more assistance.
That will come from the public works superintendent role, which will open up when Vera begins serving in the chief of staff position.
When the council approved the 2020 salary ordinance, the annual salary for the public works superintendent was listed at $45,000. The council on Wednesday amended the yearly pay to $53,000.
Anderson said the difference in pay was an oversight.
He said officials initially intended for it to be the $53,000 amount to be more attractive for potential candidates.
The next public works superintendent hasn't yet been selected.
Starting in 2020, Lake Station also will have a full-time fire chief. The annual salary is listed at $60,000.
The city’s Fire Department had been operated entirely by volunteers until firefighters and paramedics were hired months ago to staff the fire station at all times.
That’s among the reasons that prompted the need to have a full-time fire chief.
It hasn’t been announced who will serve as the full-time fire chief.
Fire Chief Chuck Fazekas currently serves in a part-time capacity, and many officials have been supportive of him taking the full-time role.
Councilman Fred Williams in October said Fazekas regularly devotes significant time to operating the department and serving the community.
“Some 110% of his heart is behind the city,” Williams said at that time.