City retirees honored in mayor’s talk

SALEM – Mayor John Berlin announced several retirements during his State of the City address Tuesday night, including the retirement and rehiring of City Planning and Zoning Officer Patrick Morrissey.

Morrissey has been with the city 25 years and decided to file for his retirement through the Public Employees Retirement System at the end of the year. He had been making a salary of $49,078 and had been grandfathered as a classified employee and received 184 hours of vacation, equal to about 4.6 weeks per year.

The city rehired him as a new employee at a lower wage with no vacation and no longer as a classified employee, with the savings to be used to hire a part-time person for the office who will be trained to eventually take over as the Planning and Zoning Officer.

Morrissey is now making $39,852 and is paying 13 percent toward a premium for a single medical insurance plan. His wife, Nancy, also retired from her position in the city treasurer’s office.

Berlin said Morrissey was brought back on a temporary basis to help the city transition to a replacement, noting that the knowledge he has acquired from all his years on the job can’t be duplicated, but can be shared and passed on to a new person.

Police Chief Bob Floor, whose last day is Feb. 1, addressed council at the beginning of the meeting and said “mostly I want to say goodbye and express my thanks.”

He wanted to especially acknowledge his police officers, without whom he said he couldn’t have done anything. He gave a nod to administrative Lt. Don Beeson, who has helped him with the massive amount of paperwork they’ve had to handle since the secretary was laid off a few years ago.

He thanked former city deputy auditor Barb Hasson, also a retiree, and the rest of the auditor’s office, saying he was taught everything he needed to know about the department’s finances. He thanked his former secretary, Debbie Thomas, members of city council past and present, the administration, city electrician Mike Bibbee, and his predecessor, former Chief Mike Weitz, who handed him a good department. Sgt. J.T. Panezott will become the new police chief on Feb. 1.

“It’s been a wonderful job. I’ve enjoyed it,” he said, earning a standing ovation from council, Berlin, Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst, other public officials and attendees of the meeting.

Other retirees mentioned in the mayor’s report besides Floor, Hasson and the Morrisseys were Candy Pierson as vital statistics registrar in the city health department, Dolores Rogucki as recreation supervisor in the parks department and Larry Altenhof in the utilities department. He noted the promotion of Panezott to chief and the promotion of Rick Suggett as foreman in utilities distribution and collection. New employees hired to replace retirees were Lori Wilson in the income tax department, Terri Hunter in the health department and Melissa Hiner in the auditor’s office.

In other business, city Treasurer Bob Tullis reported the city gained $102,313 from investment interest income in 2012, with the total amount of investments at $17.5 million.

He also reported his office instituted a new system by working with the utilities department to better track and secure accurate information for new or changing water customers for income tax purposes. Instead of relying on paperwork which didn’t always provide all the information needed, he said new customers are physically sent to the city Income Tax office to give accurate information.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at