WASHINGTON — City Administrator Ray Forsythe says clerical help is desperately needed at City Hall.

"There's no administrative assistance for our department heads, the city administrator or city clerk," he said.

"We're paying them to draft correspondence, manage calendars, make copies, even type up bid specs ... those clerical duties are making it difficult for them to finish management-level projects in a timely manner."

Forsythe inherited the problem. He's been city administrator since April.

The City Council last week gave Forsythe permission to move forward on his idea to bring in a temporary executive administrative assistant from a staffing agency.

While "high-level secretarial work" is being done by the temporary employee, Forsythe said, the requirements and duties of the position can be evaluated and he can put together a job proposal for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The staffing agency would cover temporary employee costs like salary, state and federal withholding taxes, Medicare, worker's compensation and unemployment insurance and bill the city, which would save on benefits and pension expenses.

The city has funds in its budget to pay the agency, Forsythe said. Three agencies have been contacted.

"This is long overdue," said Alderman Dave Dingledine. "Hopefully through this process we can find the right person for the job next year. We may find out it doesn't need to be full-time."

Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.