By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

Custodians ask city to reconsider cuts


October 12, 2017 | View PDF

Tommy Wells/Seward Phoenix LOG

City custodian Matthew Nelson speaks to members of the Seward City Council on Monday, asking them to reconsider a budget that would eliminate the position he's held for 16 years.

For 16 years, Matthew Nelson has worked for the City of Seward doing custodial work at City Hall and the City Annex. He and his brother, Dave, have had a range of responsibilities.

Both, however, could soon find themselves out of jobs as pending cuts to the Seward city budget could eliminate their positions.

Nelson took his plea to keep his job to the Seward City Council on Monday. During an emotion-filled speech, he asked members of the city council to reconsider eliminating their positions.

"My position is one of two that are going to be cut," said Nelson. "I've taken care of City Hall, the Annex, removed snow and did light maintenance work at City Hall for 16 years. But what I wanted to let you know: It isn't a position you are cutting, it is a family. I recently got married and I have four young children. I'm freaking out right now, wondering what they're going to eat and where they are going to sleep."

During the proposed city budget workshops, the city council has struggled to eliminate a $1.3 million shortfall. As part of the effort to trim excess from the budget, members of the council have discussed outsourcing the custodial positions – meaning that the Nelsons, two of the lowest-paid city employees, could find themselves on the outside looking in when the new budget is approved.

Mayor-elect David Squires said he understood Matthew Nelson's concerns and indicated he and the members of the council would take another look at the budget for other areas that could be trimmed.

Dave Nelson said that if his custodial position is eliminated he will likely be forced to relocate to the Lower 48 to find employment.

"It's rough," he said, noting the lack of available jobs in Seward during the fall and winter.

The council's next session for working on the city budget is scheduled for October 28.


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