Bexley City Council passed legislation Tuesday night appropriating $11,730 from the recreation fund so the recreation and parks department could make its administrative assistant position a full-time job again.

Bexley City Council passed legislation Tuesday night appropriating $11,730 from the recreation fund so the recreation and parks department could make its administrative assistant position a full-time job again.

Recreation and parks director Michael Price initially requested $21,000, but less money was needed for salary and benefits because one of the two current part-time administrative assistant positions is being eliminated, finance director Beecher Hale said.

Price announced administrative assistant Mindy Walsh's resignation at the Jan. 12 council meeting.

Walsh used to be a full-time employee, but two years ago she asked to reduce her hours to 20 a week, Price said. When she came back from maternity leave last year, she requested to have her hours cut to 12 a week, he said.

The recreation department wanted to hire a full-time administrative assistant, so Price asked council for additional funds from the recreation fund to pay for salary and benefits.

Price's request sparked discussion of whether the position was needed and at what salary. Council had a similar discussion late last year about hiring a new animal control officer, a position that city officials determined was needed but remains unfilled.

In addition to Walsh's position, the recreation department has a part-time receptionist who works 20 hours a week, Price said. He plans to combine the two positions, he said, and would like to find someone who would stay with the city for a while.

"Having turnover year in and year out is not an efficient way to run that portion of the department," he said.

In response to a question by council member Rick Weber, Price said the salary range for the position is $44,304 to $55,000. A salary study was conducted last year to determine the pay range for city positions.

Weber said he was in favor of hiring someone full time, but suggested further discussion by council to determine the salary.

Council member Ben Kessler said he found it difficult to increase the city's expenditures and asked if the recreation department could hire someone for less than the salary range.

"There is a different job market today than when the study was done," said Kessler, who added the city might find a qualified person for $30,000 to $32,000 a year.

Price later told ThisWeek that he would like to hire someone by mid-February. He said it was his intention to stay at the low-end of the salary range.

The city continues to go without an animal control officer, a position that pays $43,593.

Police Chief Larry Rinehart said replacing the officer is at the "top of his list of things to do," and he expects to screen applications and conduct interviews soon.