After weeks of rumors, Jasper’s city council tabled an agenda item that would offer contracts to Jasper City Manager Tommy Boykin and Jasper Police Chief Rodney Pearson. Even though the item was tabled, the fireworks flew early and often during the discussion portion of the item.
Jasper City Councilwoman Terrya Norsworthy motioned to table the item because of new council member Alton Scott not being familiar with the issue. Councilman Willie Lee Land seconded the motion but before council voted on the issue Jasper Mayor Mike Lout voiced his opinion on whether the issue would be heard in open session or in executive session.
“I have fought it and will fight it next time as well,” Lout said. “These contracts are proposed and they are public information and there is no need to have all this stuff behind back rooms. From here on out at city hall, it will all be heard in open session.”
Lout’s response drew loud cheers from the council audience.
Norsworthy countered by saying that Jasper City Attorney Mike Ratcliff had made a decision on the issue should be held in executive session. Ratcliff stated the issue was presented to him June 7 for his review and city opinion.
“The contract for the city manager appeared to follow the contract of (former City Manager) Alan Grindstaff and there was no past contract for the chief of police,” Ratcliff said. “Since it dealt with an employee-employer relationship, my recommendation was that if a contract is necessary for the chief of police, then executive session is utilized for the benefit of the council and the benefit of the employee.
“With it being on the agenda for tonight, I strongly recommended that council go into executive session to discuss the terms and conditions of this contract,” Ratcliff said. “And I put forth that in my letter to council members and the mayor.”
Lout pointed to a June 14 letter that was addressed to Lout that Ratcliff stated “the item was okay go ahead and go with it. It doesn’t state a word on here about executive session. But on June 17 when some people went down to your office and went to pulling on your chain now all of sudden its executive session. The next meeting, I may have my attorney sitting here behind me.”
Lout stated he had two police chief contracts in hand that one stated “he must work all the time and one that stated he could work for 10 hours a week somewhere else if he wanted to. Which one is it going to be?”
Lout attempted to adjourn the meeting but Councilman Willie Lee Land stated more discussion was needed.
“We want to do something out of ordinary,” Land stated as he drew loud jeers from the capacity audience. “Has this council ever held personnel contracts in open session?”
“Since I have been city attorney, no,” Lout said.
The meeting was then interrupted when two individuals in the audience had to be escorted from the council chambers by police as their arguing escalated. When the meeting resumed, council members continued to bicker back and forth over the issue of whether the issue should be heard in open session or closed session.
“If we were discussing a disciplinary action or his performance or working skills of any employee, then I think it should be in executive session,” Lout said. “This contract is not just about Mr. Pearson and Mr. Boykin but it is for future city managers and police chiefs and that is why I think it should be discussed in the open. Me personally I am not for contracts for anybody.
“We done paid thousands of dollars for these contracts – why keep signing them?” Lout said.
The city has paid Grindstaff $56,000 to date for his contract.
- Bathurst Council to decide on TAFE building future
- Lebanon Valley Council on the Arts seeks input on future of building
- Sykesville town council discusses future of post office
- Brooke House could be sold as commuter flats says Basildon Deputy Leader
- Housing in Stockton: Views on future homes sought by council
- Steele Mansion spurs Painesville City Council to look at regulations
- Steele Mansion spurs Painesville City Council to look at regulations for inns
- Council considers development proposal for Alameda Point
- Borough council split over plans for future homes
- The Cardinal Times: ECE Director presents in NOLA
Submited at Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 at 2:00 am on Uncategorized by admin
Comment RSS 2.0 - leave a comment - trackback