City of Piqua upholds abolishing position of stormwater manager


By Haylee Pence

[email protected]

PIQUA — The city of Piqua abolished the stormwater manager positioned on Dec. 31, 2021, which was held by Sky Schelle. The city decided to abolish this position during their “city-wide reorganization” for “the efficient operation of the city and for reasons of economy,” according to the city.

Schelle had the opportunity to request a hearing with the city manager, which he did. The hearing was held on Dec. 20, 2021. Jeffrey Silverstein represented Schelle as legal counsel. Silverstein asked the city manager, Paul Oberdorfer, eight questions on Schelle’s behalf.

The questions were recorded and answered at a later date in the City Manager’s Opinion Letter, which also held the outcome to uphold the abolishing of the stormwater manager position.

The first question Silverstein asked was, “what was the basis that efficiencies will be enhanced by this abolishment.” Oberdorfer responded with a list of economic advantages along with stating that “many Stormwater Manager Duties are similar to what the remaining staff are familiar and experienced in.”

The next question involved the economic advantages are seen with the abolishment of this position, which includes “not paying all or portions” of Schelle’s salary, health insurance, life insurance, OPERS, IT costs, and vehicle-related expenses among other items.

Next, Silverstein asked about the timeline of the decision. According to Oberdorfer, the process to examine cost efficiency began with previous city manager, Gary Huff, as early as November 2020. Oberdorfer stated, “The majority of funding was being used for payroll versus projects.”

Another question asked involved who could perform the duties of the position. Oberdorfer responded with a list of 14 names who could also do those responsibilities, which is mostly comprised of the Utilities Department.

The next question involved the differences in budgets from the one Schelle presented to the finalized budget for 2022. Oberdorfer stated, “None of the 2022 budget items discussed at Utilities Department budgeting sessions in September 2021 were changed in the final 2022 411 budget.”

The final question involved the other positions that were “abolished, laid off, or bumped to other departments in the city-wide re-organization.” There were nine total positions that were impacted by this re-organization through attrition, layoff, or abolishment during 2021.

Oberdorfer wrote, “The decision to abolish the Stormwater Manager position effective Dec. 31, 2021 is upheld.”

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