Outsourcing tabled as conflict arises

Bellevue will not be entering into a contract to outsource its bookkeeping work, at least not right now.

A representative of Bookminders spoke at the pre-council meeting two weeks ago, estimating that it would cost the borough about $25,000 a year to hire the company to take over data entry work being done by the borough's financial clerk. Finance committee chair Kathy Coder said this would free up the clerk for more important work.

At that time, neither the clerk nor director of administrative services Ron Borczyk had reviewed the company's written proposal.

At Tuesday's regular meeting, Coder made a motion to enter into a contract with Bookminders. However, Borczyk said that after review, it appeared that the borough's clerk still would have to do a lot of the work involved in paying invoices, and that this area not addressed by the company was where the clerk needed assistance. Both he and the clerk were shocked at the $25,000 price tag, he said.

If Bellevue did not enter into the contract with Bookminders, Coder asked, "What's the plan" for the administrative office workload?

Borczyk said that he had submitted a job description for a clerical position that would better address the office needs, but Coder disagreed that realigning the administrative positions would be effective.

Coder also declined to answer questions fropm council member Linda Woshner, who was absent from the pre-council meeting, and asked why the committee had decided the borough needed to outsource the work, and why prices had not been obtained from other companies. She also asked where in the budget Coder had found the funds to pay the company.

Coder told Woshner that the matter had been discussed at the pre-council meeting, that it should not have to be discussed again at the regular meeting, and that Woshner was responsible for finding out what had happened at meetings she missed.

Those comments came back to haunt her later in the meeting when she questioned parks and recreation committee chair Lynn Tennant Heffley about using the borough's engineer to draft a comprehensive plan for the borough's parks. Coder asked whether other compabnies would be contacted to get proposals for the work.

Heffley noted that Coder had been absent from the meeting where this was discussed, and that it was decided that using the borough engineer would be less costly because the company already has done a lot of the work as part of the skate plaza project, and that would make production of the plan possible by this fall. Heffley reminded Coder that she had chastised Woshner earlier in the meeting for not keeping up with council meetings and discussions.

Coder also complained that the upcoming parks committee meeting had been changed to just before the pre-council meeting without Coder being consulted. The change was made because Heffley would be on vacation, and the engineer would already be scheduled to speak at the pre-council meeting.

Heffley pointed out that Coder seldom attended parks committee meetings, and that the other committee member, Frank Camello, was frequently absent as well. Coder has attended only two parks committee meetings since the beginning of the year, officials said.

"You've missed more parks meetings than anybody," Heffley told Coder, and said that Coder had missed meetings of the finance committee, which Coder chairs.

Coder said she wanted to be informed of matters discussed that were not included in the meeting minutes.

"Well, you can always attend the meetings," Heffley said.

Coder told council president Mark Helbling that she wanted to be taken off the parks committee because it had become too "person-centric."

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