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Ex-employees challenge City DPW director

December 22, 2010 - According to ex-employees, officials should keep a closer eye on the City of the Village of Clarkston's Department of Public Works Director Bob Pursley.

Callers and letter writers to The Clarkston News made claims that have had the local rumor mills turning for months. With that in mind, we took them to City Manager Dennis Ritter to set the record straight.

According to one source, seven years ago Pursley had a city owned welder, roughly valued at $2,500 to $3,000, delivered to his house in Richfield by city employees with the city vehicle.

"From my understanding he was called out on having the welder which also from my understanding just showed back up in the city after seven years with no recourse," said the ex-employee. "If I would have taken that welder for seven years I would have been fired for theft and probably charged with a felony."

Ritter said he "couldn't speak to the past . . . all I know is the welder is over there," indicating the DPW garage.

Another source claims the DPW director makes a salary around $25,000-$30,000 a year but only works an average of 10 days a month.

For the record, Pursley's contract with the city says he is part-time and paid bi-weekly, a salary of $21,222 a year.

"The employee's part-time work hours will be established bi-weekly by the city manager in conjunction with the employee's availability," Ritter said. "He coordinates the entire DPW operation with the other two part-time employees. When he is on duty at the (Independence Township) fire station, he leaves tasks and jobs for the two part-timers to do."

Pursley doesn't receive any fringe benefits such as overtime, dental, or medical, but he does receive mileage for the use of his personal vehicle.

Ritter said Pursley used to receive $300 a month for fuel, oil and wear and tear on his car, but two years ago the council took away the $300 and starting reimbursing him 55 cents a mile for city business.

Sources say Pursley collects for 17-25 miles on his vehicle, which they consider high mileage for trips around a city which is only a half square mile.

"He doesn't get paid for driving here or leaving here to come and go from home," Ritter said. "It's not unusual for him to go pick up parts, go to Ace (Hardware), and go to Costco."

Ritter called the information "old news," but the ex-city employees beg to differ.

"It's time the council starts questioning these things or maybe even the city manager - it's time for change. The city needs to get rid of the director of the DPW and his over pay of salary and mileage reimbursement and lack of work ethic," said a letter written to the Clarkston News.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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