By Sue Moore
Ken Schippers, Vicksburg village manager, accepted accolades from the Village Council and the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market board members at its July meeting, while trying to hold back his emotions about all the fuss.
“I’m proud to be a part of the betterment of the village after 23 years here.” He will retire on July 31. “This is very hard, really overwhelming and too much,” he protested.
Still, he remained on task, informing the council that he was writing a book for the incoming village manager, Assistant Manager Jim Mallery. Schippers will include information he has gleaned on roads, water and the rules for testing he works with in making reports to the state. “I’ll still be around; not going away from the community,” Schippers said.
The new village manager contract was 95 percent ready for approval with savings stipulated in less salary and health care coverage. “It is structurally different with a car and phone allowance wrapped into one figure of $360 per month,” Mallery said. For retirement the contract stipulates a defined contribution instead of the previous defined benefit plan and was recommended by the council’s human resources committee.
Meantime, Mallery, the assistant village manager, has been busy negotiating a contract with the police union. “We are laying the foundation for the future with this 18-month contract,” he told the council. “There is no base pay increase, it will not compound pension costs, it allows us more flexibility with part-time officers. It gives us time to demonstrate the impact of different scenarios in the police department.”
Mallery also recommended purchasing seven new bulletproof vests. Current ones are five years old; federal recommendations say that is long enough. The price tag is $5,810. A new electronic record management system for the evidence room was a big necessity, he said. The cost is $3,000 per year. Both of these included budget items were approved.
Concern about the Sunset Lake beach being closed by the Health Department was voiced by Nancy MacKenzie, who lives adjacent to the beach. The geese have been a menace all summer long, she said. She was concerned that something needs to be done so it won’t happen again next year. Lots of suggestions on geese control were offered but the consensus was that very few ways really are effective in ridding a given area of geese. The Department of Public Works spends time each day raking the area of detritus, Schippers told the audience. That still hasn’t helped keep the beach from being closed.