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  1. West Fest 2013

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    October 15, 2013 by wcobserver

    Unlike previous years this year’s annual fall festival in West Fork went indoors. The annual event which has become smaller over the past several years was held in the 7000 square foot Frank Wenzel Community Center. The traditional street activities were replaced with a quilt and craft fair. Organizing the event which was once handled by a few council members and city employees got a late start this year. The city council didn’t set a date for the festival until August. None the less, the event was well attended and provided a once- a-year venue for the town’s residents to mingle. What did folks think of this years West Fest? Public comments voiced on the facebook page “West Fork-a little bit of everything,” offered some insight into public opinion on this year’s limited West Fest format. The social media page is managed by the city clerk and in addition to meeting and event announcements, lost pet notices and a rainfall report the page is sometimes used as a forum to criticize the mayor. Below are some of the comments from that facebook page along with a comment on the comments by former councilmember Joan Wright. –Went down to west fest …

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  2. COMPTIME QUESTIONS GROW

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    October 14, 2013 by wcobserver

    -By Michele Allen Winkler- No comptime policy change was presented at the October West Fork City Council meeting.  During the previous month’s meeting Michael Bartholomew agreed to formulate a policy for handling overtime hours worked by city employees.  Additionally, he was to outline an approach to paying them for the time they have already earned.    Instead the complexity deepened to include not only the currently owed comptime/overtime procedure, but also a policy that is the same for all departments of the City and one that will define whether certain employees are considered supervisory and therefore excluded from comptime/overtime. CURRENTLY OWED OVERTIME: At the September 10, 2013 council meeting, Mr. Bartholmew, Water and Wastewater Supervisor and Streets and Utilities Superintendent asked for and the council approved $12,000 to pay at least 700 hours of overtime pay to David Jones who has resigned from the City. Paying the remaining accumulated overtime earned by employees from both the Water & Wastewater department and Streets & Utilities is made more complex by lack of clarity in the division of labor, source of payment and job descriptions of employees from both departments. Michael Bartholomew is the Superintendent of City Utilities and by an undated job …

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  3. WFPD Secures Multiple Grants

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    October 10, 2013 by wcobserver

    -By Steve Winkler- The West Fork Police Department is on a roll. The department is a recent recipient of grant money from Washington County District Court, the state legislature and the Arkansas revenue department. And, there’s more to come, according to the town’s Police Chief John Collins. A grant for just under $7,000 is being used to purchase security equipment for the court, taser guns, signage, and other security measures. West Fork District Judge Casey Jones and  Pauletta Weltch, District Court Clerk  were instrumental in locating the funds and submitting the proposal, said Collins. He added that since January his department has assigned two officers to court duty. A second grant from the Arkansas Legislature’s General Improvement Fund (GIF) for $5,000 will be used for increased technology for the department. The purchase of Axon Body Flex cameras will allow officers to transmit a visual image of what they see. Unlike dash mounted cameras the new models are attached to an officer’s glasses or with a head piece and record what the wearer is looking at. Other grants are in the pipe line. The department has applied for a Justice Administrative Grant (JAG) through the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. …

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  4. Bartholomew’s Overtime Conundrum

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    October 6, 2013 by wcobserver

    West Fork City Council at the September 10, 2013 meeting approved a $12,000  transfer from the West Fork Street Department savings account to the street operations account..  This will be used to pay comptime to an employee who had accumulated 700 hours of comptime and has resigned from the City. According to Tom Kieklak, City Attorney, who cited federal rules which are clear, “…Nobody in this country can work greater than 40 hours a week without getting paid time and a half.  Even if you call it comptime you still have to pay the time and half.” If employees are not compensated appropriately it’s like getting the work done without paying for the work. Michael “Butch” Bartholomew, Streets and Utilities  Superintendent said, “The reason it’s been allowed to accumulate, it’s never been a problem before…people used it for extended illness or a family emergency.” Councilman Mike Nelson commented “…This could get pretty expensive.  We need a policy. You just have to make sure they get some time off.” Mr. Kieklak expanded on this statement saying that he has had some clients lose their business over this.  He also explained that if it is brought to litigation, the government has been …

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  5. WFFOL Statement of Purpose

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    October 2, 2013 by wcobserver

    Friends of the West Fork Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit volunteer organization founded to foster and support the library as a community resource for information, knowledge learning and culture.

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