City to hire transit manager

In order to keep a state grant to fund public transportation buses, the city of Seymour is creating a new position to manage its transit department.

For 18 years, Edie Otte has filled that role as a lead dispatcher. She doesn’t want the added paperwork and responsibilities of a manager, however, officials said.

City council members approved the transfer this week of $30,000 from its contractual services account to pay the new salary.

Mayor Craig Luedeman said the position will be filled in late July or early August. Council also will have to approve an amended salary ordinance to add the position.

The city was written up by state regulators in its last two transit department audits for not having a manager in place, Luedeman said.

He took responsibility for not taking action on the matter sooner.

“They recommended we hire someone, and I kept putting it off thinking it would go away,” he said.

But the transit system continues to grow every year, and the city needs someone to oversee its daily operations, scheduling and handle the large amount of reporting required by the state.

The position will not be considered a department head at this time, but Luedeman said that could change in the future.

“It gets bigger and bigger every year,” he said of the department. “We’re running five buses on the road at certain intervals of time.”

Luedeman said by not hiring a manager, the city risks losing its transit system funding from the state, which amounts to $300,000 to $400,000 per year.

“The state has basically told us they will pull all of our grant dollars July 1 if we don’t hire another dispatcher or a manager,” he said.

Because the city was able to save a little more than $1 million last year in the general fund and is on track to save $800,000 this year, Luedeman said the new position won’t be difficult to fund.

“I think we’ll be fine,” he said.