Clare County Review & Marion Press

Evart school administrator tells city council different approach needed

By John Raffel

EVART – Long-time Evart schools administrator Jason O’Dell attended an Evart city council meeting in early December and said, after looking back on the Oxford school shootings, he believes it’s time to approach kids’ issues in a different manner.
He added it was time to look for the root of the problems and address issues at home in an effort to forestall problems at school. O’Dell also noted the Community Resource Officer position will not be restricted to the school system but will address the entire community.
Mental health services in Evart were needed prior to the pandemic, O’Dell said, but COVID has increased that need. He noted the Planning Commission was tasked with looking at zoning in the industrial park in order to possibly change the focus of the park and make it easier to sell the lots.
He said the city should not sell the lots piece meal until the Commission has had time to review the matter.
The council approved the employment agreement for Pepper Lockhart as city manager.
Lockhart reminded the council that all Evart police officers received a raise recently, and that Chief John Beam Sr. was not included in that process. Research has shown that his salary is low compared to others in the area, the council was told.
The final year (2027) of his proposed contract only covers January through March but Beam said he hopes to retire then. Council members requested that the contract be amended to show a full year in the final year of the contract and Beam can resign at any point with 30 days’ notice. The contract was approved, amending it to reflect the entire year of 2027.

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