By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Limited duration no more.
When Kristian Bouvier became Event Center Coordinator for the Keizer Civic Center in January 2014, the future of the job was uncertain.
It was listed as limited duration, in essence needing to prove it was worthy of bringing in more funding in order to become a regular full-time position.
The last two budget cycles, the position stayed as limited duration as revenues continue to hover around the $90,000 a year mark. Keizer Budget Committee members hotly debated the topic, with several questioning the wisdom of continuing to fund such a position.
Two things happened: budget committee members boosted marketing funding for the civic center from $1,000 to $6,000 and the rental arrangements changed in terms of fees, including getting rid of the “Tightwad Tuesday” special deal state agencies were taking advantage of.
The result has been a notable surge in revenue for the civic center. Revenue increased to $115,844 last fiscal year and was at $127,029 as of May 2. By the time the fiscal year ends June 30, revenue for the year is projected to be around $135,000.
Because of that, Bouvier’s position is now full-time with benefits.
City Manager Chris Eppley indicated at last month’s Keizer Long Range Planning Task Force meeting the change would happen.
“I asked it to be funded as a regular position,” Eppley said at the time. “It has been limited duration longer than a limited duration position should be limited duration.”
City Recorder Tracy Davis, who formerly oversaw the civic center and has worked closely with Bouvier, was among those expressing satisfaction at the May 5 budget committee meeting.
“This position has been invaluable,” Davis said. “Kristian Bouvier has done an excellent job bringing events to Keizer. She used the marketing money you generously put in last year’s budget. She also did a study of rental rates to provide equality within the local market. I contribute a lot to Kristian and the marketing we have done.”
Mayor Cathy Clark noted Bouvier works with Davis as well as front desk receptionist Allison Sebem, who took the position when Paula Collins transferred to the Keizer Police Department.
“Absolute kudos to Kristian Bouvier, you and Paula and now Allison,” Clark told Davis.
Davis noted the great relationship extends to the Keizer Heritage Center and JoAnne Beilke as well.
“Kristian and JoAnne work together well,” Davis said. “We have worked in tandem with JoAnne a lot in the last year.”
Clark noted the relationship has indeed benefited all.
“The Keizer Heritage Center has seen a significant increase in revenue,” the mayor said. “They credit the relationship with Kristian and the staff here.”
Councilor Amy Ryan had high praise for the work Bouvier has done.
“I have worked closely with Kristian on several events,” Ryan said. “She’s truly a rock star. We struggled last year with seeing a return on investment. Now we’re in a high growth mode. She’s done an amazing job. She’s gone above and beyond expectations.”
The proposed 2016-17 fiscal year budget, approved by the budget committee and awaiting approval by the Keizer City Council next month, lists a salary of $37,900 for Bouvier’s position – a 19 percent increase from this year – and $20,600 for insurance, a 329 percent increase. The insurance figure caught the eye of several budget committee members.
“The insurance going up, is that by bringing in the full-time employee?” Ron Bersin asked.
Machell DePina, Human Resources director for Keizer, said that was the case. In the past, the city paid a flat stipend of $4,800 a year.
Finance director Tim Wood said the figure is correct.
“This is the flat rate of everyone,” Wood said. “We are spending quite a bit (on insurance).”
DePina said the city pays either 90 or 95 percent of employee insurance costs, depending on classification.
“The number does continue to go up each year,” DePina said.