If McMinnville officials can figure out which committee should consider the measure and recommend it to the full board, city employees could be sporting a new look in the near future.
“We are tired of our employees looking slouchy and they do, my employees included,” said McMinnville Public Works director Bill Brock. “We would like to get some nice-looking uniforms. It would be cargo pants. The shirt would have the city’s logo on it.”
The item was originally scheduled for Finance Committee consideration on Aug. 12 and cancelled within days of the meeting. Alderman Billy Wood brought the situation to the attention of the full board that evening.
“I don’t know if this is appropriate, but I would really like to make a motion to go with Unifirst Company for uniforms,” said Wood. “It was tabled out of Finance Committee. Is that something we need to take action on? We are getting a ‘no’ from council.”
According to city attorney Tim Pirtle, the item requires a financial expenditure and should be considered by Finance Committee members and be a recommendation from them to the full board.
“This needs to go through the Finance Committee before it comes to the full board,” said Pirtle. “It requires an expenditure of funds that is significant. This needs to originate in a Finance Committee meeting, as opposed to coming directly before the full board.”
Brock says the city doesn’t have a contract with its current uniform provider and employees are suffering in terms of appearance.
“We don’t have a contract with our current uniform company right now and our uniforms are getting in terrible shape,” said Brock. “We’ve complained and it falls on deaf ears. We’ve been working with Unifirst. Unifirst has a national contract the city of McMinnville and other government agencies can ride on. This will be a citywide contract, so I ask Mr. Pirtle which committee it should go under. We are talking about Public Works, Water Department, Recreation and probably the Fire Department using this contract. He advised that it should go before Finance.”
Finance Committee chairman Alderman Ken Smith allowed scheduling a meeting and then cancelled it. Brock says the cancellation was due to a misunderstanding.
“Mr. Smith called me on Friday and said he had canceled the meeting,” said Brock. “He said it didn’t need to go through Finance, it needed to go through every committee that would be responsible for it. We thought Finance could look at it and approve a city-wide contract. I don’t think Mr. Smith understood that it would take this board to authorize the mayor to sign any documentation. He can’t sign it by himself. He has to have board approval. It’s a budgeted item. The money is in the budget. Ben Lomand uses this company. You see what their uniforms look like and they look good.”
Unlike the other departments, the city’s Fire Department is under a contract. Fire Chief Kendall Mayfield says his staff members are unhappy with their uniforms and would like a change.
“We haven’t been happy with our uniforms,” said Mayfield. “Half the time the guys won’t get all their uniforms back when they need to. The material is hot. They’ll burn you up. We would like to go to a comfortable uniform and maybe a better uniform. We have three more years under this contract.”
McMinnville Parks and Recreation Department director Scott McCord says his department is unhappy with its uniforms due to problems with sizing and quality.
Pirtle is going to take a look at the Fire Department’s contract to determine exactly what can be done there, while a second Finance Committee meeting is scheduled to consider a citywide contract with Unifirst.